Have you ever looked at medical professionals and wondered about their clothing? Why do people wear scrubs anyway? The following will share a little bit about the history and origin of scrubs, as well as break down some solid reasons for keeping them around in all health-related fields. Of course, every medical profession is slightly different, and so the workplace requirements of your career might mean that you have additional needs that scrubs alone cannot cover.
Medical Uniforms Are Nothing New
If you’ve seen old photographs (from the early 1900s), you’ve probably noticed that medical professionals had a uniform of sorts even then. Typically a white shirt, skirt, and hat were part of the get-up (and yes, we’re also picturing the little red cross on the hat). Since that time period, the use of scrubs has only grown. It’s not the expected attire for medical assistants, dental hygienists, nurses, and doctors, along with many other medical personnel.
Gloves And Masks Were Widely Adopted During The Spanish Flu Epidemic
Once upon a time, however, doctors and surgeons simply wore the clothes they wore everywhere else. Occasionally, they would include a butcher’s apron to protect their clothing. All of this changed in 1918 when the Spanish flu pandemic began. Doctors were afraid to catch the flu as they treated patients, so they wore masks and rubber gloves.
Scrubs Can Reduce The Risk Of Transferring Bacteria To Patients
By the 1940s, humans were beginning to better understand how wounds get infected. They put time and effort into keeping areas sterile. They also began sterilizing the instruments they worked with. They still wore the masks and gloves like during the Spanish flu outbreak, but by this point, they were wearing them to protect their patients from bacterial infection and catching viruses.
It was around this time that nurses, doctors, and surgeons began wearing medical scrubs. These were in the style of gowns or drapes that could be placed over the top of one’s regular clothing. Over time, the benefits of scrubs were further understood, and they became required in most locations as dental uniforms or nurses’ uniforms. The remainder of this article will focus on the many benefits of scrubs.
They’re Easy On The Eyes
Between the 1950s and the 1960s, scrubs became the norm for operating rooms and other medical situations. Originally, scrubs were made out of white fabric because this encouraged the idea of cleanliness (because anyone could see if the clothing wasn’t visibly clean).
But since surgery rooms were also completely white (for the same reasons), surgeons began to complain that the brightness of the room was straining their eyes, making it more difficult for them to see clearly what they were doing. After this point, scrubs were made in soft colors like green, blue, pink, and yellow.
Some Scrubs Are Made Specifically For Those Who Work With Children
Nowadays, scrubs come in all sorts of colors and patterns and are even available in more fitted designs. Scrubs even come with children’s cartoon characters on them and fun colors and patterns that kids tend to like. This can provide a little comfort to a child who is in an otherwise nerve-wracking situation. Talking about Scooby-doo or Spongebob can be a soothing experience to a child in the middle of a health scare.
Scrubs Have Antimicrobial Properties
To help keep the medical environment clean, scrubs today are now made to include antimicrobial properties. What this means is the clothing kills or slows the spread of microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, protozoans, and fungi. This can help prevent the risk of viruses and bacteria spreading between patients in one location.
Scrubs Are Comfortable
If you’ve never worn scrubs, you can’t really understand just how comfortable they are. Designed to feel loose (but not loose enough to get caught on anything), breathable, and dry, scrubs can help medical professionals focus on the task at hand instead of being distracted by discomfort.
Scrubs Have The Right Sized Pockets
Depending on your profession, you might need to be carrying things with you while also having your hands free. In medical environments where people move around a lot from room to room, this is even more important.
Scrubs Don’t Crease
Working in the medical field might result in some movement. Okay, usually it requires a lot of movement. It’s all too easy for our uniforms to get wrinkled and look unprofessional if we’re lifting people and bending over a lot. Thankfully, most scrubs don’t crease. This also means we save time in the morning because we don’t need to iron them before we head out the door.
The above information should have made it a little more clear why medical professionals wear scrubs. Scrubs are both comfortable and practical for the wearer and promote a safer, healthier medical environment.
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