Why Do Nurses Wear Scrubs?

Love them or hate them, medical scrubs are commonly worn by registered nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers. There are numerous reasons nurses wear scrubs.

Firstly, they offer several benefits that improve the work environment.

Scrubs also play a significant role as a nurse symbol in both traditional and modern times.

For instance, scrubs allow healthcare professionals to be easily identified and they create a more sanitary workplace.

Moreover, scrubs help professionals identify contaminants and bodily fluids, are inexpensive to replace, and can be cleaned with harsh chemicals and heat.

Benefits of Wearing Medical Scrubs Include

  1. Medical scrubs help nurses identify contaminants
  2. Cleaning scrubs with harsh chemicals is safe
  3. Scrubs are cleaner than regular clothing
  4. Medical scrubs are usually inexpensive
  5. Scrubs protect personal clothing
  6. Medical scrubs offer easy accessibility
  7. Scrub uniforms help patients identify nurses
  8. Medical scrubs create a uniform healthcare system
  9. Low-cost scrubs are easy to dispose of
  10. Scrubs can be an awesome fashion statement

As you can see, the purpose of medical scrubs is to improve workplace performance and professional identification.

As a result, nurses and healthcare professionals can feel more confident in performing their duties daily.

The following section will detail why scrubs are better than regular clothes in almost every way.

Scrubs Help Healthcare Professionals Identify Contaminants

Scrubs are great for helping medical professionals identify contaminants and bodily waste.

By identifying contaminants and bodily waste, they’re able to provide a more sanitary work environment.

This is especially important in environments that have a lot of opportunities for germ transmission and hazardous chemicals.

Consequently, this benefits medical professionals and the patients they serve.

Contaminants and bodily waste found on scrubs include

  • Vomit
  • Stool
  • Urine
  • Blood
  • And other bodily fluids
  • Hazardous chemicals
  • Contaminants
  • Germs and fungus

Depending on the healthcare facility, professionals may be required to wear solid color scrubs such as white or blue.

However, some facilities have less stringent policies that allow nurses to wear various colors and patterns.

The policies are often dependent upon the healthcare organization and the department the nurse works in.

For instance, low-risk settings and doctors’ offices may provide lots of leniency regarding what scrubs a nurse can wear.

Conversely, a high-risk setting or critical care department may require specific scrub colors/designs for sanitary purposes.

In either case, medical scrubs’ purpose is to provide a safe, healthy environment for workers and patients.

Scrubs Are Cleaned Using Harsh Chemicals

Healthcare facilities that clean the scrub uniforms may use special chemicals and high-temperature machines to wash clothing.

As a result, it’s important that medical scrubs can withstand regular washing under these conditions.

Fortunately, scrub uniforms comprise strong fabrics that can handle repeated cleaning, which is essential for a clean and sanitary environment.

Moreover, this work and cleaning routine could ruin a nurse’s personal clothing if worn at work instead of wearing scrubs.

This is because scrubs, contact contaminants, bodily fluids, and germs create health risks if not properly cleaned.

With that said, cleaning practices can depend largely on the healthcare setting and risk level.

For instance, in low-risk settings, nurses may clean their scrubs at home, while emergency settings may provide professional cleaning.

Chemicals used to clean medical scrubs include

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Disinfectants
  • Heavy-duty detergents
  • White vinegar
  • And other strong chemicals

If you’re interested in cleaning methods, you can learn more about cleaning medical scrubs here.

The effort to wash medical scrubs ensures thorough cleaning and the proper removal of harmful contaminants.

Scrubs are Cleaner Than Regular Clothing

Medical scrub’s materials and composition not only make them easy to clean, but they also provide a more sanitary experience.

For instance, scrubs typically comprise durable fabrics that can be washed with harsh chemicals.

Moreover, the composition creates fewer opportunities for germs to hide, allowing professionals to spot them easily and properly sanitize their scrubs.

In settings that offer laundry facilities for healthcare professionals, scrubs are likely cleaner than regular clothing.

Furthermore, laundry facilities offer suitable chemicals for killing germs and removing stains.

This ensures that nurses aren’t carrying around potential germs contaminants on their clothing.

Lastly, assuming scrub uniforms are washed after every use, they are less likely to collect germs than regular clothing.

That’s because, unlike regular clothes, scrubs require more frequent cleaning for professional purposes.

This helps minimize opportunists for nurses and patients to exchange germs and contaminants.

As a result, patients and medical professionals benefit from a cleaner, healthier workplace.

Moreover, scrubs are comfortable to wear due to their relaxed fit, comfy shape, and soft fabrics.

This is just another reason healthcare professionals prefer scrubs over regular clothing.

Scrubs are Inexpensive

Essential medical scrubs are inexpensive, making them easily disposable if necessary.

It also allows scrubs to be cleaned using harsh chemicals with little concern.

If the scrubs become ruined, they can be replaced without much cost to the individual or facility.

With that said, some scrub uniforms and brands specialize in fashionable medical scrub clothing.

In this case, healthcare professionals can expect to pay a premium for their scrub clothing.

This is usually fine for fashionable nurses who work in low-risk settings where germs and contamination risks are minimal.

Conversely, in more restrictive or high-risk settings, nurses may opt for less expensive scrub uniforms.

This is because the chances of them being stained or damaged are much higher.

And healthcare professionals and these settings are less likely to want to spend lots of money replacing scrubs regularly.

Scrubs Protect Personal Clothing

As mentioned previously, scrubs prevent nurses from having to wear their own clothing.

As a result, it means healthcare professionals don’t have to worry about ruining their personal clothing in the workplace.

And because nurses come into contact with blood, stool, urine, vomit, and other fluids, it’s essential to have appropriate attire.

To compensate, healthcare facilities may offer a scrub budget that reimburses professionals for medical clothing purchases.

In these instances, healthcare professionals receive a yearly budget for buying and replacing scrub uniforms.

Healthcare facilities may also provide lockers for nurses to put on their regular clothing while on shift.

This is ideal for nurses that prefer not to wear their scrubs outside of work for personal or professional reasons.

Conversely, some nurses wear their scrubs outside of work because it’s convenient and saves them time.

Scrubs are also incredibly comfortable, and it may not make sense to wear regular clothing to commute to work.

After all, they’ll have to be taken off and put away as soon as work starts.

In summary, scrubs’ inexpensive cost makes them a more effective and cost-friendly alternative to personal clothing.

Scrubs Offer Easy Accessibility

Scrubs offer healthcare professionals ample pocket space to make it easier to carry around tools and equipment.

For instance, nurses carry bandages, scissors, writing utensils, penlight, and IV caps in various pockets.

That said, pocket size and the number of pockets offered by scrub brands vary dramatically depending on the uniform.

Moreover, to provide a cleaner aesthetic appearance, some scrubs feature minimal pockets.

Depending on the setting and situation, it’s important to determine the appropriate pocket space you’ll need for daily work.

Scrub uniform pockets can hold

  • Writing utensils
  • Penlights
  • Bandages
  • Trauma/bandage scissors
  • Sutures
  • IV caps
  • Notepads
  • Medical swabs
  • Sanitary gloves

A good pair of medical scrubs provides healthcare workers with the room they need to store their essential gear.

Lastly, depending on the facility, the dress code may require specific scrubs that impact healthcare professionals’ appearance.

In this case, nurses may use a work tote or bag to help them carry additional equipment around the workplace.

Scrubs Help Patients Identify Nurses

Just as police and firefighters wear uniforms to make them easily identifiable, healthcare professionals also wear medical uniforms.

Consequently, scrubs have become an indispensable nurse symbol to help patients and coworkers identify who they are in the workplace.

Some healthcare settings require nurses to wear specific colors easily identified by other work personnel.

It’s not uncommon to see nurses wearing clothing that’s different from doctors or practitioners.

Moreover, healthcare professionals wear badges and other identifiers to make them easier to distinguish.

They may also wear individual colors for specific departments such as general care, emergency care, and ICU.

With that said, healthcare professionals can often wear similar scrubs as long as the colors coordinate with work requirements.

Lastly, dress code policies may vary depending on the healthcare facility. Therefore, not all facilities require the same scrub colors or designs.

Scrubs Create a Uniform Healthcare System

In addition to helping patients identify healthcare professionals, organizations use scrubs to provide a professional uniform appearance.

By requiring medical scrubs, these facilities ensure that employees aren’t wearing clothing that could detract from the professional healthcare setting they operate in.

Medical scrubs create the same identification that police uniforms or firefighters’ uniforms do from a societal standpoint.

In turn, healthcare professionals can be instantly identified by their appearance and profession.

This is essential for those who require medical assistance, whether at work or in public.

Scrubs are a Fashion Statement

Just like nurses rocking stylish tattoos, scrub uniforms provide a fashion statement for nurses that want to look good at work.

In fact, countless companies create fashion-oriented scrubs that present an aesthetically pleasing appearance while remaining highly functional.

When paired with stylish nursing shoes and a scrub jacket, scrub uniforms look amazing whether at work or walking around town.

Fashionable scrub uniforms are especially beneficial for nurses with long work commutes.

Because of their design, healthcare professionals can feel confident wearing their scrubs outside of the workplace.

Moreover, nurses can express their personalities and tastes while remaining professional throughout the day.

This not only saves time but also saves valuable locker space at hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Lastly, stylish scrubs are comfortable to wear throughout the day.

As a result, nurses don’t feel the need to wear regular clothing outside of work during commutes.