In many films, they show nurses and doctors wearing all white, or nurses in white stockings, white hat and other stereotypical clothing. However, that is not true. Over the years, hospitals changed the dress codes for physicians and nurses. In fact, many health care professionals have probably never worn the old school medical uniforms depicted in films.
Scrubs are considered the standard medical uniform for medical facilities. Scrubs consist of a short sleeve shirt and pants with a drawstring. Scrubs were first used by surgeons who used the uniforms in the operating room or other environments that were “scrubbed.”
Before scrubs, nurses wore their own kinds of uniforms except for surgeons who used their own clothes. Early surgeons wore no protective gear or any sterilized clothes. This practice continued well into the 20th century. Over time, surgeons began to wear aprons to cover them but not for the patient’s sake.
It wasn’t under the Spanish flu pandemic in 1916 that there was an increased awareness about the spread of the flu infection. An increased focus on how diseases spread forced surgeons to begin to wear cotton gauze masks. However, this was to protect the doctors, not the patients.
During the 1940s, there was an increased focus on cleanliness. This was due to the aseptic technique that was employed in the operating rooms to stop the spread of infections and diseases. Hospitals began to stress the use of white clothing to keep an eye on stains and germs. However, because of the white environment, the white clothes that health care officials had to wear, and the bright light became a problem for the eyes. In fact, it caused severe eye strains.
To prevent this, hospitals began to change the color of the scrub attire. Instead of white, in the 60s, there was a focus on different shades of green. The color provided the staff a high contrast environment that didn’t strain the eyes and made blood stains less visible. Since the colors worked so well, by the 70s, the green scrubs became the standard for healthcare staff in hospitals throughout the country. The new medical uniforms were made of durable fabrics that absorb fluids but can be easily cleaned.
The early green scrubs model did not differentiate between departments or staff positions. Therefore, non-surgical scrubs of different colors became the standard for various department and members of staff. These new colors and patterns now make it easier to distinguish where each member of staff belong such as emergency, labor and delivery and pediatrics. Another about scrubs different medical professionals is how members of the pediatrics department many wear scrubs that have images of popular children's shows or popular Disney characters.
In today's world, nearly all healthcare professionals wear different kinds of scrubs as their medical uniforms. The use of different scrubs extends from hospitals, physician offices, clinics, surgical centers, dental and veterinary offices. While many physicians today wears their own clothing underneath a white coat, unless of course during surgery or any procedures that may involve blood or other bodily fluids.