A huge thank you to Alex Pengall, Placement Administrator at Cumbria University, for writing us this fantastic & insightful piece.
The University of Cumbria are supplied by Alsico’s healthcare division Meltemi who assist with the distribution of uniforms to all 1st year students (BSc and MSc) who enrol on a health discipline course at the University.
Students require a uniform when undertaking a placement in a healthcare setting. The issuing of uniforms is a major milestone for a new student. It provides them with a professional identity and an experience in maintaining professional appearance.
During the 2021/2022 academic year, whilst still recovering from a global pandemic, appropriate adaptations were made to ensure students received their uniform in a timely manner before their respected placements started. To make this as easy as possible for the student, and for us as a university and consumer, Meltemi designed & built us an online portal. Through this portal, students created their login details and then based on their course, the appropriate wardrobe selection appeared on their order page. Student item selection was based on predetermined allowance for their particular course. Furthermore, a sizing tool called ‘Bodi Me’ was provided to assist students with selecting the correct size. This was based on calculations a student inputted, including their height, weight and gender.
To encourage students to use the sizing tool when making an order, any time a student first logged in and hadn’t ordered their uniform, a pop-up notification appeared on screen which included information that recommended students would find this tool useful and to remind them that when wearing uniform whilst on placement, this needs to be a ‘’suitable and practical’’ fit. Students in a healthcare setting need to be wearing comfortable and professional uniform. They will often do a lot of movement and cannot really wear uniform that is skin-tight that restricts them, or conversely something that is too baggy which could cause hazards. Once a student submitted their order, the uniform was delivered directly to the student’s nominated address, providing them with responsibility of trying on their uniform upon arrival and reporting any issues should they arise independently.
The portal in general received really strong feedback from a completed survey by 130 of our students. Out of the 130 respondents, 129 said the online process as a whole was clear. 67% of the students marked the sizing tool as excellent or good, with another 27% marking it as average.
Due to just some of the implications of Covid-19, an online system was an appropriate method in regards to distributing over 500 student’s new uniform. The feedback received throughout the duration of the academic year has been vastly positive. As a consumer (us as a university and the students) we have found this an easy and straightforward process. Simplicity is something a student wants in many aspects throughout their course and it’s positive to see that the creation of this online portal meant that uniform was able to fall under this category.
In summary, we have found this digital process in regards to medical scrubs uniform very clear. Due to this, it has reflected upon the students finding this straightforward and easy to follow. I believe we have created a really positive foundation to use in upcoming academic years for uniform with this portal and digital process, with minor amendments being made following student feedback.