Most professionals with a college degree wear a suit and a tie, or at least some version of traditional business attire. Medical professionals are some of the most educated people, yet their workplace attire looks very different. Nurses, doctors, and other hospital employees don’t just wear medical scrubs because they’re comfortable, although that is actually part of the reason. Scrubs are a very functional and practical uniform.
Medical professionals need to be comfortable to perform their jobs well. They’re not sitting at a desk all day; they need clothing that allows them the freedom to move and gives them a good range of motion. It wouldn’t be very easy for an emergency room doctor to sprint down the hall or for a nurse to bend down and pick up a patient if they were wearing traditional business attire.
Medical scrubs are also used for sanitary reasons. Hospital workers are subject to get blood, feces, and other bodily fluids on their clothing. Scrubs are easy to clean, and since they are only worn as a uniform to work, they can be kept separate from other clothing. Sometimes doctors don’t even let their scrubs leave the hospital. Hospitals use powerful cleaning methods for scrubs and other medical equipment.
Scrubs also help medical professionals keep patients clean and free from infection. No scarves or pieces of clothing are hanging down when leaning over a patient. They are designed to be form-fitting, yet still loose and comfortable.
A recent study found that it matters to patients what their doctors wear, too. Depending on the specialty, patients prefer that doctors wear lab coats and/or scrubs. It’s a mark of the profession and indicates status and respect. The uniforms also help doctors move throughout hospitals quickly and efficiently, easily gaining access to the areas that they need to get to. Their uniform conveys to others that they belong.
Some hospitals have colored scrubs for different departments and specialties, again helping with safety and identification. A nursing student, for example, might wear red scrubs while an RN might wear dark blue.
Unlike the uniforms and dress of many other professions, scrubs are actually a functional and practical part of jobs in the medical field. They are an instant indicator of a medical professional, and they help them do their jobs well.