Guidance for appropriate dress and appearance

Students on placement are ambassadors of the University of Cumbria. The Uniform policy and dress code are to ensure that all Students project a professional appearance, promote public confidence and maintain professional accountability. Students must not travel to and from placement in their uniform.  If undertaking a community placement a coat or fleece must be worn to cover the tunic/polo shirt.  This will ensure the health, safety and welfare of staff and patients.

Non-compliance with uniform and dress protocol:

In the event that a student is considered to be inappropriately dressed by their supervisor, assessor, educator, placement area staff, Practice Educator Facilitator or University staff member, the student will be given guidance on what action to take, in the event that appropriate adjustments cannot be made the student will be required to leave the placement setting. Any time spent away from a placement setting as a result of inappropriate uniform and/or appearance will be recorded as an authorised absence. The student must then recoup any time missed. The breach of protocol will be recorded by a student’s personal tutor on their placement record.

In the event that a student wears their uniform out of duty hours this will also be classed as a breach of protocol, with a note made on the student’s placement record.

Should a second breach of uniform and dress protocol occur this will be classed as unprofessional conduct which will result in a disciplinary meeting being instigated by the Personal Tutor/University.


Students of the University of Cumbria must wear the uniform provided when working in appropriate practice areas, unless it is the policy of the department / Trust not to do so.  In this case, students must follow the appropriate dress code for the individual department / Trust. Students must maintain a professional appearance and wear clothes that are clean, conventionally smart and informal.  Students must check with each practice placement as to what “appropriate dress” entails for that particular area. Uniforms provided by the University of Cumbria MUST only be worn when undertaking University practice learning experiences and not for any other purpose including bank work.

External appearance should not cause distress or intimidation to patient, clients, users, carers or relatives. Student uniforms must NOT be worn when not on placement to maintain infection control.

Social Work students: Sudents are not required  to wear a uniform, however, they are expected to be at least smart casual  in their dress. Views of employers about issues such as body piercing and uncovered tattoos may be more relaxed in some social work placements than they are in medical settings. However, students are expected to have regard to the policy of the agency in which they are placed. They must also have regard to personal safety issues in relation to body piercings.         

Students on the following programmes:  Midwifery, Nursing (Adult, Child & Mental Health fields only); Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Radiography and Paramedic Practice must purchase the items below prior to commencement of their practice placement. The cost of these purchases must be met by the student.

Black Shoes and Black Socks.  Paramedic students will need to purchase ambulance boots.

Black or navy blue Coat. Not essential for Paramedic students, although the ambulance shirt must be covered outside the placement setting by a coat/jacket of some form).

Fob Watch: Essential for Nursing & Midwifery students. Optional for Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Radiography and Paramedic students.

Cardigan: Optional: Nursing & Midwifery students only.

Items supplied by the University

Students will receive the following uniform entitlement: Tunics and Polo shirts are white and embroidered with the University logo plus “Student”.

ProgrammeUniform Provided
Adult and Child Nursing 5 Tunics and 5 Trousers (Royal Blue)
Mental Health Nursing 4 Tunics and 4 Trousers (Royal Blue)
Learning Disabilities Nursing  3 Tunics and 3 Trousers (Royal Blue)
Midwifery 4 Tunics and 4 Trousers (Black)
Occupational Therapy 3 Tunics or Polo Shirts (must have 1 tunic), 2 Trousers (Green) and 1 Fleece (Green)
Physiotherapy 3 Tunics or Polo Shirts (must have 1 tunic), 2 Trousers (Navy) and 1 Fleece (Navy)
Radiography and Healthcare Science 4 Tunics and 4 Trousers (Black Trousers)
Medical Ultrasound 5 Tunics and 5 Trousers (Black)
Paramedic Practice 2 Polo Shirts (Green), 2 Trousers (Green), 1 Soft Shell jacket (green), 1 high visibility all weather anorak and 1 Safety hat with visor.

Uniform Exemptions

There will be circumstances where the wearing of all or part of the uniform may cause difficulties to individual students.

Circumstances could include:

** It is not possible to wear Islamic face-covering niqabs in the placement setting due to infection control and the need for effective communication.

Students must contact the Placement Unit for help and advice if any of the above circumstances apply.

Additional Uniform Requests

If, for any reason during the course students require extra uniforms this will be at a cost to the individual student. The only exception to this will be maternity wear, for which the University will pay.

Students wishing to purchase additional uniforms can do so by emailing to request access to the uniform ordering portal and to check the cost of the items they require. When emailing, please clearly state that you are a University of Cumbria student and the name of the course you are registered on. Failure to do so will result in students not being granted access to either the site or to the appropriate uniform(s).

Please note if you are ordering tunics, polo shirts or a fleece then these will automatically be embroidered and you do not need to add or request this.

Maternity Wear

Maternity wear (tunics and trousers) will be provided by the University, free of charge, as required.

Procedure: The student must inform the Placement Unit on 01524 590816 if maternity wear is required, giving at least 6 weeks notice.

The student will then be asked to give the correct size requirement, e.g. Sizes will be in inches. Failure to do so will mean that the student will be liable for the cost of the uniforms if they do not fit when delivered.

The Placement Unit will then order the uniforms which may take up to six weeks for delivery.Once the uniforms are delivered to the University, the Placement Unit will notify the student that the uniforms are ready for collection.

All maternity wear must be laundered and returned to the Placement Unit prior to the student going on maternity leave.

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Laundering of uniforms

It is the responsibility of students to launder their own uniforms. Please see Insert link to embedded doc

Students must change their uniforms daily and wash them separately from other clothing to prevent cross infection.  It is recommended that students purchase extra uniforms to assist with this.

Uniforms must be ironed as this provides additional protection for infection control.

Students should dispose of their own uniforms and not return them to the University. Uniforms should be disposed of in a careful and responsible way. The University logo should be removed from tunics prior to disposal. It is acceptable for uniforms to be donated to other University of Cumbria students who are still on course.

Caring for Your Uniform Garment Advice

Washing instructions are included in all products. Please refer to these for the exact washing instructions for your uniform.

For the best Laundering Results the following is recommend:

Difficult Stain Removal:

Blood: Blot with concentrated common starch paste and rinse from the reverse side with mild soapy water.

Ink: Immerse in cold water

Iodine: Treat with cold water followed by methylated spirit

Lipstick: Rub white bread over the area with a firm gentle motion

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Protective Clothing

Plastic aprons, gloves etc. will be provided by the placement area.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they adhere to the standards and policies operated within the placement area

Pens, Scissors etc:

Due to the danger of injury to patients/clients or staff, it is recommended that care should be taken with regard to placement of pens, scissors, etc., to minimise risk to the patients/clients.

Scissors should not be kept in top pockets as they are dangerous and can be taken by distressed patients/ relatives.  They should be placed in front or side lower pockets only

Hair and Nails


Hair should be tidy, well groomed, off the face, and above the collar, with minimal use of plain hair accessories.

Male students must either be clean-shaven or have their beards and moustaches kept clean and neatly trimmed.


Finger nails must be clean, short and well-manicured. 

False nails, nail polish and nail art is not permitted.

Use of Cosmetics / Perfume and After-shave

Make-up must be unobtrusive (natural appearance) and kept to a minimum.  False eyelashes must not be worn.

Strong perfume or after-shave should not be worn.

Jewellery and Tattoos


Facial and body piercing is prohibited as is all jewellery with the exception of the following:

  1. One plain wedding ring
  2. One pair of stud earrings up to 5mm diameter
  3. Fob watches may be worn

Exception may be negotiated for religious beliefs or Medi-Alert jewellery/SOS talismans.


When a tattoo is visible whilst wearing uniform, it must be covered. When the tattoo is on the forearm or hand, it must be left uncovered for hand hygiene activity.

Shoes, Socks and Underwear


Black shoes which must be comfortable and practical.  The shoes must be flat with non-slip rubber soles to protect patients/clients from undue noise, particularly at night.

Shoes should be able to be easily cleaned in the case of spillage, therefore, not patent leather or suede.

Mules, sandals, crocs, ballet pumps and trainers are not permitted


Black socks must be worn with trousers.


White or neutral underwear to be worn

Cardigans and Coats


Black or navy cardigans may be worn by Nursing and Midwifery students, but not when undertaking clinical procedures


Navy blue or black coat, preferably waterproof, with a hood and hemline below the hip, is essential for Nursing and Midwifery students which should be worn over uniform when travelling on community based placements.

Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy students are supplied with one fleece as part of the uniform allowance and must be worn over uniform when

travelling on community based placements.

Coats and Fleeces must not be worn when undertaking clinical procedures

Smoking and Chewing Gum


Whilst in uniform smoking is not permitted

Chewing Gum:

Chewing gum must not be eaten whilst on duty

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile phones must not be switched on whilst on duty.

Student Quality Ambassadors (SQA)

SQA’s may sew their SQA badge onto their uniform, but it must not cover the embroidery noting the University of Cumbria or the word student.

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