Scrubs are the sanitary clothing worn by nurses/midwives and other health workers involved in patient care in hospitals. Originally designed for use by scrub nurses and other operating room personnel, who would put them on when sterilizing themselves, or “scrubbing in”, before surgery, they are now worn by many hospital personnel. Their use has been extended outside hospitals as well, to work environments where clothing may come into contact with infectious agents (nurses, midwives, etc.). Scrubs are designed to be simple (with minimal places for contaminants to hide), easy to launder, and cheap to replace if damaged or stained irreparably.
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The nurse’s white dress soon gave way to scrubs in the 1980s. Nurses found they could lift and maneuver patients more easily when wearing scrubs and that scrubs were cheaper than gown or suit uniforms. Moreover, as fashion changed, nurses began to wear uniform scrubs which is more comfortable and flexible in terms of our long standing work and nursing procedures.
WHY DO NURSES AND MIDWIVES WEAR SCRUBS?
Scrubs are a common uniform worn by nurses in their healthcare setting. In fact, scrubs offer a number of benefits to nurses beyond simply making it easy for patients to identify them and work. Scrubs help nurses identify contaminants and bodily fluids, are inexpensive to replace, get cleaned using harsh chemicals and heat (often making them cleaner than traditional nurses clothing), protect personal clothing from being ruined and help identify nurses in the work place. Here are just some of the benefits scrubs offer to nurses/midwives; Let’s face it, the pro-side of wearing scrubs clearly outweigh the negatives and that of traditional white uniform. Here are reasons why health care professionals prefer to wear scrubs.
COMFORT: Is there anyone who will tell you the main reason that scrubs are worn is that they are comfortable? Who doesn’t want to wear pajama-like clothing to work? Today’s scrubs come in a variety of comfortable fabrics, and even better, they are also made in every color of the rainbow and even sport fashionable designs.
DESIGN: Scrubs are made to provide maximum comfort and maneuverability, allowing nurses and others to perform their tasks without constraints. Scrubs also come in shapes and sizes to comfortably fit any body type. Additionally, colored scrubs make it easier on the eyes under the bright lights of exam rooms and surgical suites.*
IDENTIFICATION: Many organizations utilize different color scrubs to identify various departments within the hospital or facility. Just as police and firefighters wear uniforms when they’re working nurses also wear uniforms which helps patients and coworkers identify them in the work place. Nurses are often easy to point out because of the scrubs they wear. In some facilities nurses may even be required to wear certain color scrubs that are different from other work personnel such as doctors or practitioners so that they can be easily identified by sight. They may also wear different color scrubs in different units or departments such as in the emergency room, operating room, neonatal care unit or general care. The dress code policies for nurses may vary depending on the healthcare facility they work for, therefore not all hospitals or facilities will require nurses to wear the same types, colors or patterned scrubs
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PROTECTION: Scrub manufacturers are able to produce medical scrubs that protect against bacteria and other types of infections. This added protection is beneficial for both patient and staff alike.
PATIENT COMFORT: Traditional white uniforms presented an air of intimidation and would make patients, especially children, uncomfortable. The all-white uniforms were also notorious for their inability to hide blood or other unseemly stains that upset those receiving care.*
LAUNDRY: Scrubs are designed with materials that do not easily pick up dirt and grime, but when they do they are easily laundered to sterilize and remove blood stains, and other grime picked up throughout a shift.*
SRUBS ARE INEXPENSIVE: Basic nursing scrubs are often inexpensive which makes them easily disposable if necessary and allows them to be cleaned under harsh circumstances with little concern. If they ever are ruined they can be replaced without too much cost to the individual or healthcare facility.
SCRUBS OFFER EASY ACCESSIBILITY:
Scrubs that offer lots of pocket space can make it easier for nurses to carry around their tools and equipment. Nurses may use the pocket space to carry writing utensils, pen lights, bandages, IV caps, notepads, a PDA or smartphone, swabs, scissors, gloves and anything else they may require to perform their duties.
NURSING is also a physically demanding job, with much bending, stooping, squatting and reaching required; a uniform should allow easy movement. Most Nurses/Midwives spend long hours on their feet, according to the Bureau of labor statistics, and scrubs and good shoes are important for comfort, support and flexibility in terms of such. Nurses may come into contact with blood, urine or other body fluid. Clothing should be easy to wash both to prevent stains and to ensure that infectious organisms are removed from the fabric. One disadvantage of the traditional white uniform is the difficulty in keeping white fabric clean. Nurses shoes should be impermeable to liquids, with closed toes and flat sole, and should not produce excessive noise or not at all like simple snickers. No wearing of bracelets, bangles, necklaces or all sort of jewelries for Infection Prevention Control (IPC) and comfort.
Many organizations have a dress code for nursing staff. I suggest nursing dress code should be uniformly all over Nigeria. Some expectations in dress code are that nurses should wear scrubs in white or colors which are appropriate in many circumstances. To accommodate our Muslim sisters, I will recommend that they be allowed to use hijab over the scrub. However, such hijab should not be so long that would compromise on infection prevention policies, thereby spreading infection to other patients, the nurses and there loved once. The female nurses, midwives and nursing/midwifery students should advisably stop wearing gowns because is never a comfortable working outfit so also the male nurse’s and students should stop wearing suit because it does not provide comfort in terms of work. Its better if the white traditional uniform and cap is use as ceremonial uniform, and scrub as working or clinical uniform as it provides comfort and beauty at work.
The change start with me and you as a dynamic and polyvalent or specialized Nurse/Midwife or students. please do share this for the sake of our profession upgrade, beauty, comfort and effective health care delivery, time management and smartness in the profession.
written by: Student Nurse. Reuben Markus Zirahgi.
Edited By : Nr Dathini Hamina MSN, BNSC, RN, RM