When you see someone wearing scrubs, you instantly become aware of their hard work. Worn by caretakers, nurses, veterinarians, and hundreds of other healthcare assistants, scrubs are the official garment of the medical professional. They provide safety to staff, make patients feel more at ease, and help all staff and subjects classify and identify staff from various groups.
It’s not always enough to simply purchase scrubs of any type, color, or fashion. It helps to know what to look for in your workwear. Depending on your career, you will need to choose scrubs that are fine-tuned to your department’s restrictions and your personal needs for comfort and practicality. This guide will help you get a grip on your preferences and needs for your scrubs to enhance your work performance and provide you with convenience and comfort.
Adhering to the Rules, Regulations, and Recommendations
First things first, you should always pay attention to what your department requires from your attire. The recommendations and requirements for surgical attire differ slightly from those of a medical student.
- Color – You’ll need to understand firstly what colors you need to look for as determined by your employer and the area you’ll be working in. Color coordination varies amongst healthcare facilities and is usually done to help differentiate workers in each department. This way surgeons can be distinguished from nurses and so forth.
Surgical attire or scrubs worn in an operating room are typically jade green, and you usually can’t wear these in any other department in a hospital setting. Sometimes color specifications aren’t required, in which case you should use your best discretion for color choices.
- How to Wear – Many times, scrubs are only necessary for places where patients will be in direct contact with a healthcare worker. To keep up with professionality and decorum, any garments worn underneath scrubs shouldn’t be visible; therefore, it’s wise to find scrubs that fit well. Furthermore, a well-fitted scrub suit contributes to easier dressing and undressing for immediate changing and laundering.
- What to Wear – Scrub suits made entirely out of cotton are not practical. They are more porous which leaves particles and pathogens just enough room to penetrate the scrubs. Moreover, they shed more lint and are highly flammable. Instead, it’s commonly recommended by healthcare facilities to purchase scrubs that are made from polypropylene, or blended fabrics consisting of rayon, polyester, or spandex. These scrubs will be better able to repel hair and dust, resist odors, and include a bio-responsive coating.
Even after following the rules of the workplace, there is still room for personal fashion choices. Many scrubs today have pockets and compartments woven to improve versatility and performance. Keeping pens, scissors, phones, and other tools close by reduces the possibility of cross-contamination, plus it applies additional convenience for workers who are already double-tasking. There are many different areas of customization in choosing your scrubs, each offering some sort of facet that caters to your work needs.
Scrub Suit Materials
Look for materials that are breathable and flexible. When you’re on your feet for several hours at a time, you need to be in scrubs that are comfortable and keep you from getting overheated.
Polyester blends offer a synthetic material that is very breathable and airy. Durable and wrinkle-resistant, polyester is a popular choice as a blended fabric for scrubs. You should look for scrubs with a polyester blend but try to stay away from 100% polyester scrubs. Full polyester scrubs are more staticky materials that will attract lint and dust, which is a big no-no in the healthcare industry.
Rayon is a material that is just as breathable and lightweight. Being a semi-synthetic fabric, rayon blended scrubs provide cooling qualities that are ideal in the healthcare workplace. Rayon mocks cotton in a lot of ways as a cheaper option. It is resistant to wrinkles but should still be blended with another fabric since it tends to shrink when it’s sewn on its own.
Spandex is a perfect material that adds to the flexibility of scrubs. Find scrubs with a spandex blend so you can perform your work duties without compromising movement. Spandex doesn’t lose its shape, so when it’s combined with other materials, it resists shrinkage and stretching.
Cotton is a common material for scrub suits. Cotton blends are breathable, lightweight, and comfortable for long-term use. 100% cotton will shrink, are more flammable, and pick up more lint. Try to look for a scrub suit with just a percentage of cotton.
Scrubs have become more stylish over time, moving away from the traditional tunic “classic” fashion. Still, classic-style scrubs tend to be more comfortable for some. These are the more popular and common suits you see in the industry.
If you’re looking for other style scrubs, you can look for a slim or skinny fit. These are more slimming, form-fitting, and have pants that are tapered to the leg. These are less popular, but more contemporary while still being sophisticated and professional.
Scrubs come with various details, such as pockets, compartments, and loops that can be customized to help you utilize the tools and instruments you use daily. This just depends on what you find convenient in your daily work. You can pick scrubs based on the details that meet your need.
If you’re a healthcare worker that takes notes often, look for a chest pocket that is wide and deep enough to fit pens and a notepad. If you’re left-handed, you have the option to find scrubs with a pocket on the right side, and vice versa.
You might think about how your badge feels when you wear your scrubs daily. If you’re worried about neck and back pain from being weighed down with your tools, consider scrubs with more pockets in other areas with different ranges of depth. Pockets can be found on the backs, fronts, and sides of scrub pants for extra convenience.
When your place of work demands that scrubs be worn only in certain areas, you will find yourself needing to hang your scrubs often. When buying scrubs, look for details like locker loops for both your tops and your pants so you can easily hang them where they won’t get dirty or wrinkled.
Your scrubs are more than just a uniform, they’re a beacon of safety and proficiency. When you’re buying scrubs, you can acknowledge your requirements without compromising your overall comfort and personal style.
- Guidelines for Surgical Attire. (n.d.). American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). https://www.asahq.org/standards-and-guidelines/guidelines-for-surgical-attire
- Color Psychology: The Effects of Color. (2021, October 22). Denver Englewood Counseling | Highlands Ranch Therapy. https://www.mountainvistapsychology.com/color-psychology-the-effects-of-color/
- Written by Pulse Uniform, www.pulseuniform.com. (n.d.). 10 Things to Consider in Choosing Workwear Scrubs. Copyright (C) 2004-2022 Pulse Uniform – All Rights Reserved. https://www.pulseuniform.com/stayupdated/things-consider-choosing-scrubs.asp