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The Evolution of the Modern Scrubs Uniform

When you google stock images of a nurse, you might expect a traditional image of a woman in a starched white dress, stockings, and a white cap. However, search results would show that the majority of images show nurses wearing non-white scrub uniforms rather than the conventional white dress uniform. More and more hospitals have been changing the way their nurses dress up for work.

Nowadays, people in the medical, healthcare, dental, and even veterinary facilities, primarily wear scrubs such as Cherokee scrubs uniforms to work. The conventional white uniform is now only used for formal events such as graduating from nursing school or uniforms of non-surgical nursing staff.

Scrubs are medical uniforms that consist of a short-sleeve shirt and drawstring pants. The outfit was named scrubs because it was first used by surgeons and nurses in an operating room where the scrubbing of the environment is a common practice.

The Evolution of Medical Uniforms to Scrubs.

The conventional starched white dress was a required uniform for nurses in the early 20th century. Surgeons, on the other hand, wore their clothing even during surgical procedures without the use of any personal protective equipment or PPE. However, due to the risks of getting bloodstains on clothing, surgeons began using long aprons.

The earliest use of PPE came about during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, which prompted surgeons to wear cotton gauze masks and gloves to protect them from getting infected. Due to the large number of patients that needed treatment, doctors began to wear cheaper clothing during procedures to protect their more formal clothes.

By the mid-1900s, disinfecting the surgical suites to remove infectious pathogens have become a routine. To give the appearance of cleanliness, the color white was adopted as the official color of surgical suites, from the wall to the uniforms of doctors and nurses.

However, the combination of all the white colors in the room paired with the bright operating room lights caused eye strains for the surgeons and surgery staff. The white color of the uniform was then changed to different tones of green.

The Modern Scrubs.

In today’s times, scrubs are the official sanitary clothing worn by nurses, physicians, and surgeons who are involved in handling patient care in hospitals. Surgeons may still use their clothing when entering the hospital, but they will need to change into their scrubs before an operation.

The modern design of the scrubs serves a convenient yet efficient purpose. The drawstring pants make it easier for health professionals to change from everyday clothing to their scrub suits. The short-sleeve shirts make it easier for health workers to move their limbs freely.

The short-sleeves of the modern scrubs uniforms were purposely designed so that scrubs will not hinder the movement of the surgeon’s arms during surgery.

The Diversity of Modern Scrubs

Uniform makers such as Cherokee scrubs uniforms has a wide variety of designs and colors for the modern scrubs. Hospitals use different colored scrubs for different patient care departments; however, surgically used scrubs are almost always come in solid light green, light blue, or light grey. Non-surgical scrubs may come in the broader color tones and patterns, but the hospitals that will implement these colored scrubs uniforms must be aware of the psychological effects that specific colors will give to their patients.