Why Do Nurses Wear Scrubs? (Interesting Facts)

Why do nurses wear scrubs

If you were born during those days when nurses used to wear those spiffy caps and white scrub dresses, you must be wondering what happened to that sparkling attire. Well, times change, and those days are long gone. The accepted nursing uniform in the healthcare setting today is scrubs. So why scrubs specifically?

Nurses wear scrub uniforms for sanitary and practical reasons. The simple style allows for easy identification of contamination with bodily fluids. The ever-improving material will enable scrubs to be comfortable to wear during work but, at the same time, be long-lasting and withstand repeated washing. 

Scrubs offer a wide range of benefits to nurses beyond just making it easy for patients to identify them. 

What Is the Purpose of Wearing Scrubs, and Why Are They Essential?

Wearing scrubs is a requirement by healthcare facilities, but there is more to that.

Hospitals can sometimes get messy and confusing, especially during rush hours and peak periods. It makes it easy to identify a nurse from the crowd or among doctors. 

It is similarly easier for healthcare professionals to determine who their colleagues are. Nurses need to be differentiated from other medical practitioners as they interact with patients. Scrubs also provide a professional appearance and act as a form of identification, just like for police officers, chefs, and the army. They also instill trust, respect, and confidence from patients and colleagues.

Another purpose of wearing scrubs is that they increase and improve the safety of the wearer. Since they are well-cleaned and sanitized, they help keep a nurse’s skin safe from hazardous substances. 

What Are the Benefits of Wearing Scrubs?

Loving or hating scrubs is not an option because the pros outnumber the cons. Scrubs are not only beneficial to the nurses wearing them but also to patients, co-workers, and the general public that visits the hospital. Today, they are available in different colors, styles, and designs to keep the health care professionals neat and stylish. So what are the benefits of wearing scrubs?

1. They help identify contaminants

Scrubs are excellent at aiding in the identification of fluids and harmful contaminants. Some of these fluids include vomit, blood, urine, or stool. Different healthcare facilities recommend different colors, such as green, blue, and white. Such colors help identify contaminants so you can act quickly to avoid spreading them to other patients.

That said, there are scrub colors and patterns that might make it difficult to spot a stain. For that reason, most hospitals choose one plain color for each type of healthcare worker.

2. Help keep the wearer from germs and bacteria

Hospitals are the hotbed for all kinds of viruses and bacteria. That is why healthcare providers cannot wear the same clothing as the general public. 

In particular, nurses are the central part of the hospital staff that comes into contact with diseases. They provide services to almost all kinds of patients, making them vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Their clothing is also prone to carrying and transmitting germs quickly when they encounter other people. Scrubs offer that needed protection because they can be cleaned easily with any chemical to keep bacteria away. 

Nurses might have to change into new scrubs mid-shift because of an exposure.

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3. Scrubs are generally cleaner than regular clothing

Since the hospital attendants clean scrubs, they are assumed to be cleaner than the nurses’ clothing. The fact that they are cleaned at the facility means that the scrubs can only be worn after they have been washed, ensuring that nurses do not carry any germs when they wear their scrubs. This also helps minimize germ transmission from nurse to patient.

4. They are affordable

While not all scrubs are cheap, you can certainly find affordable ones, if you desire. Scrubs can be washed with powerful chemicals and withstand harsh conditions. Continous washing might lead scrubs to deteriorate quickly. Luckily, most scrubs are cheap to replace. If ruined, you don’t have to break the bank to acquire a new set.

5. They help keep regular clothing in good condition.

Your clothes are expensive, but scrubs are not, so what should you wear to protect your clothes in the workplace? Nurses are busy individuals. They spend most of their working hours moving from one room to another, from one patient to another, and from one doctor to another.

Their clothes are likely to get dirty or ruined by chemicals or soiled with contaminants such as urine or stool. Working long hours requires some form of comfortable clothing – such as scrubs. They make your body feel lightweight and mobile, making it easy to move from one place to another.

6. Scrubs offer accessibility

Scrubs come with many pockets to allow easy transportation of tools from one space to another. Nurses can use the pockets in various ways such as carrying penlights, notepads, bandages, scissors, gloves, IV caps, smartphones or PDAs, and any other item they need regularly. Regular clothing may not come with such pockets, and it can be challenging to move personal tools from one place to another.

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Do All Nurses Have to Wear Scrubs?

The history of wearing scrubs goes back to many decades when medical professionals wore white and surgical areas were also sterile white. However, experts discovered that the whiteness was too bright and eye-straining to the surgeons. That is how the concept of colored scrubs came to life. 

At first, it was just green, and with time, other colors were incorporated. In some healthcare facilities, nurses have to change into scrubs when they get to the hospital. That is to avoid the introduction of harmful germs from the outside to immunocompromised patients. The reverse is also true. At some facilities, nurses need to remove their scrubs when leaving the hospital to avoid contaminating or exposing the public to germs and bacteria from patients. Now you know.

Wearing your scrub from the hospital is running a risk of infecting someone in the general public with infectious germs that could make them sick. Wearing scrubs is not a fashion statement; you need all the protection as you move from one patient to another. Scrubs limit cross-contamination and keep environments clean and sterile. 

The beautiful colors are just for breaking the monotony and allowing you to express your style and appearance while still maintaining your professional look. Most facilities, however, mandate a specific color for nurses. 

Nevertheless, just because you are wearing your scrubs in public doesn’t necessarily mean that you are covered in germs. If you are on your way to work or simply enjoy wearing your scrubs on a day off, you shouldn’t worry about sanitation.

Most nurses prefer to wear scrubs only when working to maintain a professional appearance and safety.

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Should Nurses Wear Scrubs in Public?

Research has shown that scrubs are potential vectors of spreading infections in both hospitals and public places. That is why many hospitals do not allow nurses to wear scrubs outside of work. Therefore, unless a nurse runs errands before work, scrubs should strictly remain in the health facilities and not other places.


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