Why Do Hospitals and Medical Facilities Require Nurse Scrubs?

Some nurses do not like scrubs, while others look forward to wearing them at work. Apart from the doctor’s coat, no image is associated with hospitals more than scrubs.

Most offices do a dress code, so think of nurse scrubs as the dress code of the hospital. Admittedly, there is some controversy with people wearing scrubs in public. Some people believe that this type of clothing unnecessarily spreads diseases when they are out of the hospital setting.

However, note that not all those scrub-wearing employees work in hazardous environments. If you see one at your local cafeteria, it is highly likely that they get assigned to the administration office. They are far away from the blood-splatter or contagious diseases that emergency nurses or surgical nurses exposed to.

Hospitals employ strict policies when it comes to scrubs. Cleaning them should be according to the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Cleaners working with hospitals also comply with these standards.

Of course, nurse scrubs are considered personal protective equipment by the OSHA. It means they should be worn at all times to protect the person from any of the health risks concerning their job.

These scrubs are dumped into the bin to be cleaned and sanitized. The doctors and some nurses then change into civilian clothing as they finish their duty for the day.

So, if you see somebody wearing a scrub on public transportation or in the grocery store, chances are, you are in no danger of being contaminated.

But Why Wear Scrubs in the First Place?

The American Nurse Today tried to answer if scrubs help enhance the professional image of nurses. It ran a survey on 27 establishments on the type of strategies they use on the uniforms, as well as the dress code.

Based on the results of their survey, they arrived at the following common themes:

  1. Professionalism — As the study found out, the nurse scrubs do serve a purpose. They give health professionals an air of professionalism. One primary advantage is that patients tend to believe their instructions more if they are wearing a uniform, compared to those who are not.
  2. Identification — Nurses who wear scrubs are easily spotted. In a hospital setting, the patient can identify the person they turn to for help. The survey, however, points to the preference of both the health professionals and patients for brighter-colored scrubs.
  3. Practicality — Even office uniforms offer the same advantage. For one, you do not have to worry about what to wear for the day. You save money on clothes for your “outfit of the day” since you are wearing scrubs anyway.

Meanwhile, hospitals also adopt the color-coding of scrubs for practical purposes. The resident doctor does not have to look around for somebody who possesses the right skills and knowledge to help. One look and they can determine if the nurse becomes assigned to surgery, pediatrics, laboratory, emergency room, administration, or any other departments. It saves a lot of time and promotes efficiency.

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