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Nebraska hospital's worker dress code on messy buns draws criticism

Aspen Pflughoeft, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in Business News

A Nebraska hospital was criticized for its dress code update on messy buns after a screenshot of the policy went viral, according to media reports.

Bryan Health, located in Lincoln, gave an update to a nursing unit in late July, the health system said in an Aug. 1 statement.

TikTok personality Nurse Blake posted a screenshot of the update on July 28. The screenshot reads, “Dress code update: There is an emphasis on hair being clean, neatly managed, therefore no ‘messy buns.’ ”

Along with the text, the screenshot shows three photos of messy buns that the hospital’s statement described as “hair not secured adequately.”

In a video, Nurse Blake termed the update “the no messy bun policy,” criticizing the hospital and saying, “If you really want to make a difference, don’t worry about hair. Let’s talk about safe staffing, let’s talk about mandatory breaks, uninterrupted breaks. Since when is hair an indication if a nurse is a good nurse or a bad nurse?”

The video had more than 1 million views across TikTok and Facebook by Thursday.

The hospital responded to the criticism by saying, “The social media post misrepresented a long standing Bryan Health policy. The policy is titled, Dress Code – Personal Appearance and Cleanliness. It is similar to policies at other leading health systems and other industries that require needs for safety and sanitation.

“Bryan Medical Center’s policy includes no mention of messy buns. The policy does and will continue to reference clean, neatly managed hair, appropriately secured out of the face. Appropriately secured hair is important for a number of safety reasons.”

“As long as I’m wiping messy buns, no one can tell me I can’t wear a messy bun,” one person commented.

 

Others highlighted that staff shortages and staff well-being seemed more important than staff appearance, the Journal Star reported.

Another top-liked comment said, “They should just be thankful for whenever someone shows up to work their shift.”

Others commented that hair discrimination is an ongoing issue for people of color. One comment said, “No fun when the tables turn. Every hairstyle a black female could wear outside or straight (natural, braids, curls, etc) was deemed ‘unprofessional’ for the longest.”

The hashtag #messybunhairday began to trend with nurses posting pictures of their messy buns on Facebook.

The full text of the policy reads, “Haircuts and colors will not be restricted, but all hair is to be clean, neatly managed, and appropriately secured out of the face. Headbands worn should be simple and professional in color or pattern. Handkerchiefs are not appropriate to wear covering one’s hair while on duty,” according to the screenshot.

Bryan Health did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment on Aug. 4.

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