The Ups and Downs to a Nursing Uniform Code

Stories - Carla Dino ScrubsScrubs are the iconic uniform of the nursing profession. In fact, most people remember the television show of that name, even if they’ve never watched it.

Usually, lab coats mean doctors and scrubs mean nurses, but this isn’t always a rule. Many support staff can wear either.

One of the great things about scrubs is that they can help identify you to the patient. If your facility has a code that nurses wear certain colors, then patients will know who to turn to for help.

However, there are many different pros and cons to wearing scrubs as uniforms. Although it is nothing like wearing business attire, wearing them does have its quirks.

Pro: They are comfortable.

Con: They are shapeless bags of bland uniformity.

Scrubs are like pajamas. They are loose fitting, made of breathable fabric, and allow for easy range of movement.

Yet, scrubs are like prison outfits. Everyone looks the same, no one can express their individuality, and you are forced to wear them regardless of your mood that day.

Everyone thinks it is so easy to go to work in a set of scrubs because “they just look so comfortable.” Sometimes finding comfortable, functional scrubs can be a challenge.

You need ones that fit you right, have pockets in strategic locations, and match the specific details of your dress code. Finding these things together in one set of scrubs and then getting several of them is difficult.

Pro: Some stores have “cute” scrubs.

Con: Often these scrubs are small, expensive, and questionably cute.

When Grey’s Anatomy came out, the scrubs manufacturers decided that they would make a line of scrubs based on the show. These were supposed to be fashion forward and cute.

Unfortunately, they only fit the smallest of frames. As a bigger nurse, I couldn’t find even one of these scrubs that fit any more loosely than a sausage casing.

The scrubs are questionably cute, as well, and many hospitals don’t allow for the muted colors. Only so much can be done with the basic scrub, and what manufacturers think is cute turns out to be horribly inconvenient for the working nurse.

Pro: Some facilities pay a uniform stipend.

Con: Most don’t, meaning you pay for your uniform out of pocket.

Scrubs can get expensive. If you have to try many styles before you find the one you feel comfortable in, you can put out a great deal of money in buying uniforms.

Once you do find that perfect set of scrubs, you have to buy multiple sets of them to last you throughout the week. Fortunately, some facilities have a scrubs allowance that will pay for at least part of your uniform expense.

In many cases, though, the facility leaves you on your own to buy scrubs, and that can be pricey, especially if you are too particularly. See if you can pick up new scrubs from second hand stores, factory outlets, or former colleagues who no longer work at your facility.

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