What we know as todays' medical scrubs date back to the 1970s. Although nurses traditionally always wore nurses uniforms in some form, it wasn't until the the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 that surgeons began wearing cotton gauze masks to prevent the spread of infection.
But although medical scrubs certainly help a medical professional look the part, there’s a lot more to it than appearance alone – in fact, the main role of a scrub tops and scrub trousers is to protect medical staff from the daily challenges of working in a clinic environment.
Perhaps the most iconic part of a nurses uniform or doctors scrubs is the medical hat, known traditionally as a surgical cap. Even clean recently washed hair is contaminated with loads of bacteria. The surgical cap minimises the risk of hair falling into the sterile area during surgery. Ensure that all your hair is covered by the surgical cap before proceeding with scrubbing for surgery!
Another key component of medical uniform is the scrub top. Scrub tops help nurses, doctors and surgeons identify contaminants and bodily fluids, are inexpensive to replace, get cleaned using harsh chemicals and heat (often making them cleaner than regular clothing), protect personal clothing from being ruined and help identify medical professionals in the work place.
Even a scrub trousers and medical shoes play a handy role, ensuring protection from spillage and contributing to comfort during long shifts in a challenging medical environment – the majority of it spent standing.
Medical uniforms might look striking, but they play a valuable protective role across the whole spectrum of safety, from preventing injuries to helping nurses, doctors and surgeons do their job with comfort and ease.
Medical scrubs are a lot more than just fashion, as any medical professional will tell you. Medical scrubs might just seem like tradition, but it’s a tradition that stems from a functional need.