Nurses' roles and uniforms

Many different types of nurse and other staff work in the wards and units at The Royal Marsden. The following provides a brief definition of roles and how to recognise them by their uniforms.

Clinical nurse specialist

An expert nurse with a background in a particular area, for example bowel cancer. They provide information, practical and emotional support and act as your key worker (a point of contact for you and your carers) throughout your treatment. They wear dark blue uniforms.

Matron

Provide clinical leadership across a group of wards with a highly visible and authoritative presence. They are responsible for ensuring the highest quality care. All wards and clinical areas have a poster with the name of the matron. Matrons wear dark blue uniforms with red piping.

Sister

Sisters and charge nurses are responsible for the overall running of each ward/unit and for standards of nursing care. They lead a team of staff who ensure the delivery of quality services and are key in ensuring clear communication between those involved in patient management. They wear a dark blue uniform with white dots.

Staff nurse

Make up the majority of any ward/unit team. These registered nurses are responsible and accountable for patient care. They work closely with the wider clinical team and supervise the non-registered workforce. They wear blue and white striped uniforms with dark blue piping and a dark blue belt.

Senior staff nurse

Highly skilled and experienced registered nurses. They are often team leaders, responsible for the supervision and development of staff nurses, coordinating the ward/unit and deputising for the sister or charge nurse. They wear blue and white striped uniforms with red piping and a red belt.

Healthcare support worker

Healthcare support workers work closely with, and are supervised by, staff nurses. They provide direct patient care by undertaking tasks and elements of patient care such as recording vital signs, helping patients eat or wash, or taking bloods. They wear a white uniform with brown or yellow piping.

Housekeeper/ward clerk

Housekeepers coordinate a range of services on the ward, including catering and cleaning. They wear a white uniform.

Ward clerks look after administrative duties on a ward. They wear a dark blue top with white polka dots and black skirt or trousers.

Research nurse

Help run clinical trials. They provide information and support and act as a central point of contact to patients involved in trials. They wear a royal blue uniform with dark blue piping.

Advanced nurse practitioner

Highly experienced nurses with additional responsibilities in the clinical environment. Their extra training and high level of knowledge means they can diagnose, treat and prescribe medications as appropriate to their specialty. They wear dark blue uniforms.

Critical care outreach nurse

Help patients make a smooth and safe transfer from the Critical Care Unit to more traditional ward-based care. They wear dark blue uniforms with green piping.

Clinical site practitioner

Senior nurses who coordinate hospital admissions and discharges. They make important decisions day and night and support ward staff to ensure quality and safety. Many patients contact them for out-of-hours support. They wear a dark blue uniform with yellow piping.