Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Scrubbing Up for Surgery

     Here I will rant against what I view as a blight upon society: that which we call "scrubs." I'd always taken them for granted, until one day, I saw too many of them at work. (Explanation: I work at a restaurant located near a good number of stores and "regular offices" and doctors' offices. During lunch, we get a decent number of nurses and doctors' assistants in the building.) I thought to myself, "These women just look lazy and sloppy. They look like they're wearing pajamas." Why does society insist that nurses wear these horrible outfits? It's like, "Thank you for studying long and hard and learning so much about teeth. Now wear this lame outfit as a token of our respect and appreciation."
     Really, would you like to have to wear this to work every day?
     I'm not denying that the color is nice, and the model is pretty, but the clothes themselves? And why is it that only nurses have to wear these? The doctors often wear real clothes with a white coat on top, and thereby look presentable. I don't know how it's even possible to get into a productive mood while wearing such loose, baggy, ill-fitting-- well, pajamas.
     So then I think about the reasons for wearing scrubs. Maybe the nurses need loose clothing? No. They answer the phone, walk you to a room, ask you questions, floss your teeth. . . None of that requires extremely roomy clothes. Maybe scrubs are easy to clean? Okay, if they are, I can begin to understand. Begin. Can't you take low-maintenance fabric and make prettier clothes? Besides, as a waitress, I haven't much sympathy in regards to easy-to-clean. I wear ordinary jeans and button-fronts to work. I've spilled all kinds of stuff on them, and the stains have all come out. Last thing to consider: it's a uniform. You want nurses to be easily identified. There are many kinds of uniforms, many kinds of attractive uniforms. In fact, uniforms usually look cool just in virtue of their being uniforms. Scrubs do not.
     A friend of mine brought up the following point: male patients in hospitals often form attachments to nurses, so maybe scrubs are meant to discourage that sort of thing. That is a problem, but in that case, I would think that it's not so much the beauty of the nurse as it is her caring presence that the male patients become attached to. So, yes, an overly personal or elaborate dress for nurses would in inappropriate, but does it have to be ugly? I'm not asking that nurses go back to the old white skirt suit with coordinating hat (although I'd prefer that to the modern uniform); I just wish there was a non-revolting alternative.
     Therefore, I ask you, my readers, to submit to your ideas for the Scrub Alternative. I'm very interested to see what you'll come up with, and I mean to share some of them on the blog. :)  I'd also appreciate arguments defending scrubs as they are. I really am interested to know why it is that they are they way they are.
     Thank you all for hearing me whine. ;)
Below: Some of my favorite uniforms
For now, let's ignore the Harry Potter arguments in the homeschooling world and admire the uniform.
British school uniforms really are the best. Simple, practical, clean... They're great.
The Carabinieri, Italian police 
Last, but by NO means least: Swiss Guards!!


  1. Nurses do WAY more than answer phones and floss people's teeth!

    Nurses are the backbone of any major medical center. Even if staffed with the normal amount of clerical staff and doctors, without the nurses a hospital will not be able to function. They take care of the patients 24/7 and are responsible for much of their care. They are trained to execute procedures both regular and irregular, and are expected to cover a large number of patients. These patients require procedures at regular intervals, and nurses are often busier than the doctors. Nurses don't go and get years of expensive medical training so they can shuffle paperwork and answer phones.

    With all of the medically oriented interaction that nurses have with patients, it is highly impractical and sometimes dangerous to have uniforms with bells and whistle. Even large necklaces or dangling bracelets pose a risk. Such items are magnets for bacteria and can be responsible for spreading diseases throughout a wing, a floor, or an entire hospital. The more bells and whistles on a uniform, the greater the risk. While the Swiss Guard's uniforms are striking, they are highly impractical for a sterile, hospital environment.

    With the current healthcare climate, more and more doctors are leaving, and fewer and fewer are coming out of med school. Nurses are being relied upon more, and being trained to cover more advanced medical procedures.

    Finally, the male patient has nothing to do with the design of scrubs. Nothing. Both male and female nurses are required to wear the same, gender-neutral, scrubs.

    Scrubs are actually pretty fantastic :) They are cost-effective to mass produce, and busy medical professionals are able to do their jobs without worrying that they will be spoiling nice clothes. I'm sure ketchup comes out of a button-down, but what about urine, semen, feces, bodily fluids, biohazardous material, and intravenous fluid and medication?

    Just some food for thought!

  2. Thanks for the comment! :) Those are valid points, and I see that I should have been more clear.: I meant to focus not on hospital workers, but on the nurses who work in the doctors' offices.

  3. I think your perception might be a bit mixed up. The nurses are the majority of medical labor, and the 'hospital workers' you see behind the welcome check-in desks are just office workers with no medical training. In the individual areas of the hospital, there may be a nurse at the desk, but that is hardly ever the case.

    On a medical floor, however, there is always a 'main desk' that serves as a hub for medical staff. Medical records are stored there, patient's info is in the computer systems, and most importantly there are screens dedicated to monitoring the live vital statistics from each individual patient.

    Nurses really do not do any office work, hospitals have huge staffs of office workers to take care of that side of hospital operations.

    Just to clear things up for me, are you writing this with a hospital in mind? Or are you thinking of private practices?

    1. My thoughts were on private practices. (I again apologize for the lack of clarity.)