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Nurses at Chinese hospital swap uniforms for flight attendant costumes

China's Jiangsu province, in which Huaian is located.
China's Jiangsu province, in which Huaian is located.
Wikimedia Commons

What’s the first profession that comes to mind when you think of customer service? One hospital in China is making an effort to drive home the idea of customer service and closely tie it to patients’ visits. It’s a bit of an unusual method, however, as it involves some of the nurses dressing in a uniform befitting one of the most customer-oriented jobs out there: the flight attendant.

The Huffington Post notes on Wednesday that about a dozen nurses at Lianshui Traditional Chinese Medicine in Huaian, located southeast of Beijing in eastern China, are donning the flight attendant costumes in order to help foster good bedside manners and improve the quality of nursing overall.

Bu Haijuan, head of the nursing unit at the hospital, said swapping the uniforms was an outside-the-box idea and pointed out that while customer service skills can get overlooked when it comes to training to be a nurse, flight attendants are specifically trained with those very skills. Thus, a “best of both worlds” sort of scenario. Besides, Bu added, who says nurses have to wear white?

The initiative goes a bit deeper than simply changing clothes. The nurses reportedly also underwent a month of training done by actual flight attendants from China Eastern Airlines. It’s all a matter of perception; since flight attendants are often synonymous with customer service and attending to your needs, the hospital hopes the same impressions you might get on a good airplane experience will translate to your hospital experience.

As far as criticism of the program goes, some might see the costumes as demeaning to the nurses and in fact, Inquisitr notes that there was initially some concern while the plan was in the works of whether the change would spark some bad press.

Good or bad, it’s not the first time a business has had employees change getups. In 2012, hygienists at a dental clinic in Taiwan dressed up as maids to help patients relax. A blood donation center in Japan did something similar in 2012 when four maids were brought in to help encourage young men to donate blood. According to one donor, he got “lots of affection” in exchange for his donation.

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