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Just Us Nurses! A Forum for Nurses. Learn, Share, Discuss, Conversate. The Choice is Yours. Join Us Today! (http://justusnurses.com/forum/forum.php)
-   The History of Nursing (http://justusnurses.com/forum/f155/)
-   -   The History of Scrubs (http://justusnurses.com/forum/f155/history-scrubs-9037/)

DutchgirlRN 04-14-2012 03:28 PM

The History of Scrubs
What if nurses had a universal uniform? Should we have a universal uniform? Some countries do. Good idea? Yes? No?

Where I work we all have to wear solid black. I though ugh but now I like it. It stays cleaner during work hours and it's easy to get dressed knowing that there is no choice.

Nurses uniforms have experienced dramatic changes since the 19th century.

Prior to the 1800s, nursing was a casual profession left to the monks, nuns, and women with low morals who set up hospitals, usually in churches. Nursing did not become a respected profession until the emergence of Military Nursing during the Crimean War.

Recognizable nurses attire was first created before the 19th century in Nightingale's school. One of Nightingale's students designed the uniform, and its style changed very little up until the 1940s. From the late 19th century onwards, nursing became a respected profession.

Beginning in the 1880s, nurses donned uniforms that were considered to be "state of the art" protection against illness, but were also functional expressions of feminine virtue. The uniform allowed for nurses to effectively treat patients, while also maintaining a respectable appearance. The original nurses uniform was known as the "fever proof" uniform, and covered the entire body, although it left the face and the hands uncovered.
The uniform was used not only for hygienic reasons, but also for identification purposes. Nurses needed to be easily recognized in a hospital setting. The traditional dress included a long sleeved dress with a starched collar, sometimes including a bow tie, a starched apron with shoulder straps, and a frilly cap that was kept in place with ties under the chin.
Nursing became one of the few decent professions a woman could enter into. Also considered to be good training for marriage, nursing provided golden opportunities to meet prospective husbands. Despite the large numbers of women entrants into nursing schools, men were often granted superior treatment as nursing students, and were rarely denied enrollment into a nursing program.

Over the years, this would become a female dominated sector, changing recently to involve both sexes equally.

The First World War saw a changing trend in nursing uniforms as a need to mass produce garments, coupled with a demand for easy cleaning of these garments, increased production. For example, the United States used a drab grey fabric for nurse dresses. Nurses were also required to wear a Red Cross badge on their arm while they served overseas. At this time, tippets were added to nurses wardrobes. This was a short cape-like garment worn over the shoulders with a badge or stripes sewn on the front to denote rank. Large, starched, floor length aprons were worn by nurses assisting in the operating rooms. This was a sanitary move, allowing nurses to care for multiple patients with pristine aprons that could be easily cleaned.

During the Second World War, the dress changed once again by shortening the floor length garment to mid calf and altering the style of cap to be more conservative without the chin straps that held it in place. While badges continued to be used, cap styles began to denote rank along with buckle design. Women were continually recruited into nursing in the 1930s. Nursing was an attractive alternative to typing or receptionist duties, and the use of eye-catching uniforms helped to make nursing more appealing to young women. A career that was both respectable and steady, nursing was emerging as a preferred vocation for many women around the globe.

In the 1950s nurses uniforms continued a rapid evolution in style. Becoming evermore functional, the uniform was short sleeved with a bibbed-front instead of the traditional apron. The caps saw a change into the "pill box" style. Due to high volume in hospitals, uniforms were designed to be simple in style and cleaning, and the starching of the garments was avoided to speed up laundry services in the hospitals. It was during the 1950s that the use of disposable paper caps became popular.
The surge of cultural change in the 1960s resulted in open collared uniforms, moving away from the image of purity portrayed by the traditional nurse attire.

The United States began using early scrubs in select hospitals, and starched white garments were pushed aside in favor of comfortable and functional scrubs. Of course, this trend is not consistent between countries or even hospitals, but it was the beginning of the end for traditional nurse attire. In Europe, stockings were replaced with tights. While scrubs did arrive from overseas, they were generally only used in the operating theatres. The majority of hospitals in Europe continued utilizing the traditional nurses uniform. Men began to steadily enter the profession during this period.

Caps continued to change in the 1970s, and disposable paper caps became increasingly popular. Checked dresses in Europe were donned instead of the blue or black dresses. In the 1980s, disposable aprons become widely used. As male nurses became more prominent in the 1980s, a simple white tunic decorated with epaulettes distinguished them as nurses.
Caps and capes eventually faded out of use. In many parts of the world, nurses continue to wear the original style of nurses garb, despite the popularity of scrubs. In however in the 1980s a simple white tunic decorated with epaulettes distinguished them as nurses.
Technology has also improved in the area of textiles. This has turned the perception of protection into a reality as certain garments become more stain resistant. There are also a number of scrub brands that offer protection (EPA registered and USDA accepted), from microbial contamination with microbiostatic barriers.
Today, scrubs are the uniform of choice in most of the developed world, however some areas of Europe and countries in the developing world continue to use the very traditional nurses dress. Scrubs allow nurses to effectively and comfortably treat patients, and due to its unisex design, there is no longer a clear distinction between the male and female nurses in hospitals. Scrubs continue to be an identifier of health care professionals, allowing nurses to be both fashionable and fun in a variety of styles.

The History of the Nursing Uniform from 19th Century Onward | MyNursingUniforms Blog

MoreDilaudidPlease! 04-15-2012 11:51 AM

ALL BLACK scrubs....I have to use half a paper lint roller roll or a good amount of clear packing tape just to wear EITHER black pants OR a black warmup jacket.....two longhaired cats, one nearly all white with gossamer silk, looonggg hair. NOT a pretty thought.

<putting topic back on the rails after that random thought>

Sabby 04-16-2012 05:02 AM

Nope skip the universal uniform idea LOL

We wear Hunter Green- it is ok but a hot color I prefer to have a choice in making myself and my patients happy but we have to have our logo on our tops and scrub jackets.

Interesting article and read Joanna- Thanks for this.

LivingDeadNurse 04-16-2012 04:31 PM


Originally Posted by MoreDilaudidPlease! (Post 119214)
ALL BLACK scrubs....I have to use half a paper lint roller roll or a good amount of clear packing tape just to wear EITHER black pants OR a black warmup jacket.....two longhaired cats, one nearly all white with gossamer silk, looonggg hair. NOT a pretty thought.

<putting topic back on the rails after that random thought>

OMG white dogsmall snoopy I would have to take stock in lint roller...no thanks

LivingDeadNurse 04-16-2012 04:41 PM

Certain colors of scrubs for certain areas at my hospital. There is a small problem with this. They did like 6 shades of blue since our colors are white, navy and sky blue.


Seal: Housekeeping
Galaxy blue: RN
Royal Blue: Respitory
Maroon: LPN/cardio tech
Turquoise: Radiology/Ct female
Hunter green: Male Radiology/CT
Green scrubs: Doctors or OR Techs
Long White lab coats: Doctors

See the confusion?

I think the colors should be more define or maybe have the tops Embroidered with ER nurse etc. just my thought. I like the separation of the colors. But I think housekeeping's color should be no where near medical staff colors. Because sometimes they get asked medical questions.

I don't ever want to go black or white

terry004 09-02-2012 02:05 AM

good ideas and concepts, lots of great information which we all need, helpful iformation. I would like to thank you for the efforts you shown remarkble writing skill in this nice thread.



kitty29 05-05-2014 05:48 AM

Speaking of scrubs
Our hospital does have all nurses wearing scrubs color specific to your work area. We now purchase and wash our own in the NICU. Our color is teal.

Now my wish is this...that scrubs be made to look nicer, more professional And comfortable!!! I have never been a huge fan of elastic or drawstring pants!

In Walmart this fall I found a super nice pair of dress pants....stretch cotten type fabric with a Real waist band, Real zipper....nice boot cut....That is what I'd like to see in scrub uniforms. When I bought my own I did get thred and decorate with fancy stiching...got alot of complements.

I have seen some sites/stores starting to have a better quality...still looking for what I'd Really Want in my colors. Not easy. Wished I could find the fabric.

icurnmaggie 11-03-2015 08:22 AM

Everyone wears scrubs. I noticed that even the inmates on Orange is the New Black wear scrubs. I think nurses need to wear something that looks professional from a distance and differentiates us from all of the non healthcare workers.
I have two nice embroidered scrub jackets and an AACN fleece jacket. Other than the huge RN badge tags, does anyone have ideas on how nurses can be identified at work?

Mr_Nurse 11-03-2015 11:43 PM

I was thinking about starting a thread entitled "Nurses should be required to wear caps so they don't mix us up with radiology techs"

Too much drama, eh?

Ruby Vee 11-04-2015 10:27 AM

When I started nursing back in the last quarter of the last century, I wore the polyester dress, white hose and white "nurse" oxfords. It was expensive, uncomfortable, difficult to keep clean and even more difficult to stay modest when measuring chest tube drainage or squatting to assess someone's feet while he's sitting in the chair.

In the 1980s, with more and more male nurses entering the profession, the push started to wear scrubs. It was a hard fought battle, but in the late 80s nurses were allowed to wear scrubs to work. At first, the hospital supplied and laundered them -- we had a changing room in another area of the hospital. But then they required that we buy and launder our own . . . and started dictating colors. When the hospital got tired of dictating colors, I could finally buy and wear scrubs that were flattering to my skin tones and comfortable to wear. That lasted a good 20 years, but not the pendulum is swinging back and management is dictating not only the color of scrubs but in some cases, the brand, style and where they are purchased. No more personal choice. I can no longer choose the brand, color or style of the scrubs I wear. I cannot choose a color that looks good on me or a style that flatters my body type. Most days, I look like an unmade bed, and am uncomfortable to boot because the damned things don't fit my body correctly. I don't even get to decide which company or website gets my money. I have to use the website that is ill-planned and unwieldy and doesn't play well with Macs because that is the only website authorized to embroider our hospital's logo on the left chest of those damned uncomfortable scrubs. And when I retire, I can't even donate the damned things to Goodwill because the hospital "doesn't want them getting out into the community."

I'm not a fan of color coded scrubs. I'm a professional; I ought to be trusted to decide what to wear to work. And besides, it's been shown over and over that color coding doesn't work. At least, it doesn't work if the object (as is usually stated) is for patients and families to easily be able to identify the nurse. It doesn't work if the patient has the color coding chart in his hands and up on the 32 inch TV screen in the room. It just doesn't work.

Just one more way for management to keep their collective foot on our collective necks. And I am SOOOO against that!

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