by admin on November 11, 2009
Crocs. Is there anything more attractive than a vibrantly colored rubberized clog, complete with air vents and a nifty strap on the back for the utmost in support and comfort? Heck, you can even personalize these space-age monsters with little gems and doodads! Possibly the most heinous of fashion crimes, Crocs have accomplished making black socks and sandals an attractive alternative.
To those who wear them they are the epitome of comfort and style. To those who don’t, they resemble the fashion downfall of society. Although the hideous appearance of Crocs goes uncontested, I came to understand the versatile nature of this unique footwear when a friend wore them for a 6-week trip to Ethiopia and the Middle East. Up hills, down ravines, climbing mountain paths, and walking through museums, they may have been out of place, but they were still up for the task.
Unfortunately for those who would happily see the destruction of every unsightly resin-produced croc, they became quite popular within the nursing community. The shoe provides comfort and easy cleaning, both attractive qualities for health care practitioners in hospitals.
Hospitals internationally have voiced concerns over their employee’s choice of crocs as footwear. The holes in the most popular style of croc could potentially harbour infection. They are large enough to allow blood or bodily fluids to pass through the shoe, as well as sharp objects such as surgical tools or even syringes. Crocs are also thought capable of generating electrical charges that could potentially disrupt or damage medical equipment. The open heel designs in crocs are also thought to be safety issues.
There is a great deal of hype over the safety issues of crocs on specific surfaces, and particularly, on escalators. A number of incidents have been reported abroad of Crocs becoming lodged in escalators, often causing its wearer mild injuries. The slip-resistant sole of the shoe can actually cause its wearer to lose balance while walking, as the material seems to fasten to certain floors. Although these are generally not serious problems, they certainly do give hospitals added ammunition in the fight against Crocs.
Despite the overwhelming adversity to Crocs in the hospital workplace, there remains very little evidence that crocs are unsafe. There is a far greater likelihood of needles or other sharp objects puncturing a nurse in the arm. Nurses are constantly aware of their surroundings, and should be trusted to make responsible choices in their workplace attire. Should there perhaps be greater concern over where scrubs are worn before and after a shift?
Although many hospitals have asked their staff to purchase leather or athletic shoes instead, this is not always a better choice. The mesh netting often found in runners and sneakers is just as easily penetrated by sharp objects, and they often require more maintenance and are difficult to clean.
Crocs have changed over the last few years to include a wide range of styles that are more suitable to those in the nursing profession. The closed-toe and closed-heel styles are more likely to pass the standards set by hospitals, and they ensure a happy nurse is on the job. The newer designs of Crocs have a closed top design to help protect from getting the foot wet. The ventilation ports on stayed on the sides rather than the top and are necessary to help cool the foot. This style of Croc was designed with channels around the side holes to keep fluid away. The shoe is finished off with a slip resistant non-marking sole and wide foot bed made for comfort.
Hospitals that have restricted the use of crocs have been asked to review the occurrences of croc-related safety incidents in the workplace. Frustrated nurses, forced to pack away their horridly ugly shoes, are now demanding that hospitals think their decision through. Of course, before the advent of the croc, health care workers were quite capable of completing a gruelling 12-hour shift. However, just like trading an indoor bathroom for an outhouse, giving up comfort is a difficult thing to do.
An argument continues to persist as to whether nurses should have a professional appearance, right down to their shoes. Hospitals do not want their employees to portray a childish or unqualified image. Having a smart uniform right down to the shoes will guarantee patients take their attending nurses seriously. Crocs don’t exactly make their wearer appear confident and put together, do they?
Because of the failure of Crocs to pass the protective footwear standards of the OSHA, the American Nurses Association (ANA) partnered with the company to develop a model suitable for working in the healthcare environment. Necessary to the design was no holes, and a closed heel. The shoe needed to protect against spills of blood or other potentially infectious material. While other hospitals worldwide have banned Crocs for their employees, the ANAs partnership has effectively allowed a compromise; comfort for nurses, and safety standards for hospital administration.
The facts stand that Crocs and Croc-like-footwear is easy to clean, comfortable, and supportive. And perhaps most importantly, they are inexpensive. Footwear made especially for the long shifts endured by nurses can run anywhere from $30-200.00. By using this comfortable and inexpensive shoe, nurses can save their pennies and their feet.
Even if Crocs remain unpleasing to the eye, they are functional and valuable to hospital staff. The innovative and new designs are sure to keep nurses comfortable and safe on the job. Why? Because the shoe fits.
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