Why Do Nurses Wear Scrubs?

Why do nurses wear scrubs

Scrubs are the usual uniform worn by all nurses in their healthcare facilities. Apart from making it trouble-free for the patients to recognize the nurses, scrubs provide numerous benefits to them.

Scrubs help them to identify bodily fluids and contaminants, costs less to replace, protect personal clothing, and can be cleaned using heat or harsh chemicals.

So, why do nurses wear scrubs?

From a social perspective, scrubs worn by nurses create the kind of identification that the uniforms of firefighters or police officers do.

Scrubs make the abilities and professions of the nurses clear to the general public by their appearance.

Related articles of ours:

Now you know the basics of why do nurses wear scrubs so it’s time to dig in a little deeper.

When did nurses start wearing scrubs?

When did nurses start wearing scrubs

One of the most intriguing questions maybe when did nurses start wearing scrubs. Until the 20th century, it was only the nurses who wore conventional uniforms as compared to the surgeons.

Eventually, it became common for surgeons to wear aprons during surgical procedures to protect their clothing.

In 1918 the pandemic caused by the Spanish flu raised concerns about the outspread of the infection. Doctors began to wear cotton gauge masks while performing surgeries. It was during that time nursing uniforms evolved.

Shirt lengths were shortened and shirtsleeves help the nurses to roll them up with ease.

Most of the nurses stopped wearing aprons due to their bulkiness.

During the 1940s, medical systems deployed several antiseptic measures to prevent the outspread of infections and pathogens.

Later, doctors and nurses began to use green-colored apparel to provide a contrasting environment while operating. In the 1970s, traditional caps worn by nurses became outdated.

The introduction of the hospital scrubs was the beginning of the new modern medical attire. This outfit is popularly known as scrubs.

See also: Best Plus Size Scrubs

Modern-day scrub tops are V-neck and short-sleeved. The pants usually have a drawstring. Scrubs can include warm-up jackets along with knitting cuffs and long sleeves.

Surgical scrubs are either green or blue in color. Nonsurgical scrubs are worn outside the operating area.

See also: Can Nurses Wear Any Color Scrubs?

Thankfully, modern scrubs provide greater comfort and mobility.

But why do nurses wear scrubs in public sometimes? That’s coming up next.

See also: Why Do Nurses Wear White Shoes?

Why do nurses wear scrubs in public?

Why do nurses wear scrubs in public

Nurses wear scrubs while handling contagious patients or working in a less sterile environment. The scrubs help them to avoid contamination.

They change into their regular outfit before leaving the medical facility.

This way, the scrubs allow them to contain harmful bacteria in the hospital.

See also: Can Nurses Wear Scrubs to a Nursing Interview?

However, the nurses don’t have to be surrounded by contagious patients to obtain the pathogens. They can get them from the air and from their own hands.

But when you see someone wearing scrubs in public, remember that they may not be from the medical field.

Anyone can buy and wear them in public.

See also: Do Nurses Wear White Coats?

Nurses working in the medical field and hospitals are considered to have a high social status in society.

If you find someone, chances are that they may have experienced an inflated ego.

Other than that, extensive coverage by the media has conditioned people into believing that wearing scrubs while going to work is acceptable.

As you know, wearing scrubs feels like wearing pajamas.

See also: What to Wear Under Scrubs?

They are comfortable and breathable. That’s one of the reasons why nurses feel tempted to move around wearing scrubs while running errands soon after work.

Other than that, laziness can be a good reason why do nurses wear scrubs in public.

They spend plenty of hours attending to the needs of the patients.

Sometimes, they may get too tired to think of changing their scrubs before heading home.

Why do nurses wear scrubs? FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) commonly associated with “Why do nurses wear scrubs?”.

What do nurses wear under scrubs?

Male nurse

Nurses wear scrubs all-round the year even when the temperatures are running very low during the winters. Although the scrubs are simple and well-designed, they aren’t enough comfortable to wear sometimes, especially at lower temperatures.

Hence, nurses need to wear over or under scrubs to keep them comfortable.

Long-sleeve tees worn under scrubs are opted for by many nurses. They wear them on the run while entering or leaving the hospitals. These under scrub tees provide an extra layer of protection that keeps you cool when you are outside the facility and shields you from the chilly hallways in the medical facilities.

Scrub jackets are another popular choice for nurses. Sometimes the temperature inside the hospital drops and there might be a need to wear a blanket. These jackets are antimicrobial, modern-looking, comfortable, and durable.

It holds well after washing and has resistance against shrinkage and wrinkles.

Slim-fitting lab coats are also worn by many nurses these days. These coats have sophisticated looks and don’t hamper your ability to move comfortably. The slim-fit coats help the nurses to stay cool in hot weather and keep warm at lower temperatures.

See also: What to Wear Under Scrubs?

What do male nurses wear under scrubs?

Male nurses are increasing in the field of nursing. Like the female nurses, it is important to wear the appropriate garment underneath the scrub.

However, not all medical professionals are allowed to wear something under their scrubs while operating. The most common garment male nurses wear under the scrubs is an undershirt.

This shirt can be either long-sleeved or short-sleeved, in matching colors. The long-sleeved t-shirts keep the body warm in cooler areas. But, there are chances that it can get strains and carry germs around.

In general, these undershirts are made with a breathable fabric of high quality.

Because the shirt sits next to your skin, it absorbs sweat. A shirt made with cotton-polyester fabric blends with moisture and helps the body dry fast. It is necessary to watch out for the fabric before buying.

The color of the shirt is important as well.

The color of the undershirt has to match the color of the scrubs. Or else, it will show through the scrubs. Neutrals fabric such as light grey and cream are perfect choices. Underwear is the next thing male nurses wear under their scrubs.

The related article of ours: Male Nurse Memes

Why do nurses wear long sleeves under scrubs?

There are situations when nurses don’t have permission to wear long sleeves under their scrubs. When nurses are around operating rooms, they aren’t allowed to wear anything under their scrubs.

That’s because of the basic cleanliness and prevention of contaminations of various kinds of pathogens.

Apart from this, there is a sense of professionalism that accompanies wearing scrubs in a sterile and sensitive environment. For this reason, nurses aren’t allowed to wear clothing underneath scrubs.

One common reason why nurses wear long sleeves underneath is to protect themselves from the hot or cold temperatures both inside and outside the medical facility.

However, while wearing long-sleeve shirts underneath the scrubs, nurses should have to consider some things.

The clothing should have a snug fit because loose-fitting can catch objects around and look sloppy. The long sleeve clothing should fit right under the scrubs quite similar to a layered t-shirt that comfortably fits under a light jacket or a button-up shirt.

See also: How to Fold Scrubs?

Long sleeves can be buttoned-up or rolled up above the elbow with ease when needed. This benefits a lot of nurses and hence they wear them.

As aforementioned, the long sleeve shirts keep the nurses warmer and more comfortable according to the changing temperatures.

Another great option many nurses choose is length sleeve shirts for wearing underneath their scrubs.

They provide great comfort and don’t come in the way while washing hands. However, wearing undergarments solely depends on the regulations of the medical facility.

Why is it so important for nurses to have a dress code?

The dress code is important for the nurses because it resembles professionalism and patients can identify them from a distance.

It also helps them to establish trust among their patients. That’s why do nurses wear scrubs.

See also: Can Nurses Wear Dresses?

Do all nurses wear scrubs?

No, it is not mandatory to wear scrubs.

Many nurses who aren’t in direct contact with the patients don’t need to wear scrubs.

However, they need to wear business attire that represents the medical facility.

For instance, a clinical nurse coordinator or a nurse care manager doesn’t need to wear scrubs.

Do nurses have the liberty of wearing any kind of scrubs they want?

No, they can’t wear any kind of scrubs of their choice.

Different types of medical facilities have different kinds of scrubs to wear. Nurses need to adhere to the guidelines of the medical facility and consider their rules.

Depending on the type of facility policy, some nurses may have restrictions on the color of their scrubs and where they need to wear them.

Can nurses wear scrubs in public?

While there aren’t any specific regulations about wearing scrubs in public, many nurses tend to wear them out of the medical facilities.

In general, wearing scrubs in the public is prohibited.

But, many times it is seen that they wear the uniform when they are running errands either after or before work.

Conclusion: Why do nurses wear scrubs?

What do male nurses wear under scrubs

As you have seen, there are many reasons why nurses wear scrubs.

On top of that, scrubs provide maximum pocket space to carry important nursing equipment and tools such as scissors, penlights, pens, gloves, and so on.

They are well-priced and help nurses attain a professional appearance.

That’s the reason why modern medical facilities require them to wear it.

Scrubs are an item of protective clothing that keeps cross-contamination at bay.

Now you know all about why do nurses wear scrubs. If you would like to learn some more nursing-related stuff check out these articles of ours:

It helps us to create even better content for you if you could give this article a star rating. Thank you in advance!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.9 / 5. Vote count: 33

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

About Ida Koivisto, BSN, RN, PHN

Ida is both a registered nurse and public health nurse. Her passion is to provide as much valuable information about nursing to the world as possible. In her spare time from work and blogging, Ida loves to work out at the gym and spend time with relatives.