Every time you go to the hospital, you’ve probably noticed that while not everyone is wearing the same pattern, they’re all wearing scrubs. Sometimes, even the non-health care related employees wear them. So why is it that hospitals have policies on what employee’s wear?
- They mark healthcare employees. Primarily it’s because we expect healthcare workers to be in scrubs, which means it is easier to quickly identify a health care employee in times of emergency. This set of clothing is immediately associated with healthcare work, which is one of the reasons employees like recreational therapists tend to wear street clothes. When we see a white coat, we think doctor. When we see someone in scrubs, we think nurse, or nurse’s aide.
- They’re easy to wash. Considering the amount of bodily fluids, dirt, and other grime a healthcare worker might come in contact with, clothing that is easy to wash is a necessity. With good scrubs, it’s possible to get even some of the toughest stains out. And as a patient, the last thing you would want to see is a healthcare worker with stained clothing! Not all scrubs are as cleanable as others, though, which is why hospitals pick a style like Grey’s Anatomy scrubs, and stick with it.
- They hide dirt well. While it may be tempting to go and clean your scrubs every time they got dirty, it’s not possible, especially when things get busy. So healthcare workers need some clothing that can seem clean, even when that’s not necessarily the case. Patterns help with this, as well as certain colors, which is why it’s not uncommon to see “fun” scrubs or darker ones, in addition to the traditional blue.
- They’re cheap to replace. Despite how easy they are to launder, scrubs do get stained irrevocably and no longer can be worn. Scrubs are much cheaper than standard clothing (although fancier options can be bought at a higher price, if the employee is allowed to choose their own scrubs) because of many things, such as the material that they’re made from, the fact that they’re mass-produced, and that they’re a simple pattern.
Of course, some hospitals have even more reasons to keep people in scrubs, like the ones you can get from Grey’s Anatomy scrubs. But these four are the core reasons that we associate the clothing with hospitals — and even dentists.