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Medical scrubs have come a long way since they were introduced. Scrubs are uniforms that were originally worn in the operating room and nowhere else in the hospital. They have evolved from the term “surgical scrubs” to just medical scrubs or uniform scrubs.
Initially the scrubs worn were all white. The operating room walls were white, sheets were white and the uniform scrubs were white as well. This led to eye fatigue. The strain produced by the bright lighting and the white environment proved very stressful to everyone in the operating room.
During the 1960’s the constant use of white scrubs no longer existed. Most of the uniform scrubs were green or blue. They consisted of short sleeved shirts, usually with a V-neck and pants that had drawstrings and no pockets. The medical profession felt there was less chance of cross infection with the use of clothing that was worn strictly in the operating room and had no nooks and crannies for infection to hide in.
Uniform scrubs were not particularly stylish, but were very functional. Doctors, nurses, anesthetists and anyone going into the operating room wore medical scrubs. Hair was covered with cloth caps initially and later with paper disposable caps. Feet were covered with disposable paper shoe covers. All of this was an attempt to prevent the spread of infection in the hospital.
Styles progressed. During the 1970’s and 1980’s there were prints introduced. Along with what had become traditional green and blue unisex medical scrubs, there now were a variety of prints. The blue, green and white were still the basic colors, but it was a bit different. Necklines were scooped on some and warm-up jackets became available for the occasional trip outside the operating room in an attempt to keep the scrubs clean.
As time progressed other changes occurred. The unisex look was and is still there, but it doesn’t have to be the only option in the medical scrubs wardrobe. Eventually the scrubs uniform spread out to other departments of the hospital. These were primarily areas that dealt with an excess of body fluids and it was easier to throw the scrubs in the hamper and get a new set off the shelf than it was to go home and change.
Eventually intensive care units and emergency departments adopted the use of scrubs as well. The demand for different prints was answered. They began making medical scrubs in pink, yellow and just about any other color imaginable. A lot of healthcare workers chose the darker colors. This prevented the obvious blood splatter from being so obvious and maintained a “cleaner” look.
Uniform scrubs for women came in a variety of styles in the 80’s. Some were wraps that were a bit more stylish. The selection of patterns increased and you could fit your scrub uniforms to your personality or your workplace. Hospitals provided standard scrubs for some departments.
write by Randolph