Scrubs in Public: The Debate

The question of whether a nurse or doctor should wear their scrubs outside of work has always been a debate. The answer varies depending on the situation.

Asking a few questions about when, where, and the circumstances give insight on whether scrubs are proper to wear in public.

Are the scrubs worn/used in sterile settings?

Scrubs worn in an operating room or other sterile work environments are for the workplace, only. The issue many runs into is lack of space at their workplace to change and store scrubs. However, the germs even during a brisk walk down a hallway are easily transferable to patients and could cause further harm.

Storing scrubs for sterility at home means keeping them separate from other clothing. Some professionals use airtight containers or specially reserved space in a closet or drawer to store their work scrubs in a disinfected area.

What are the before and after work destinations?

Everyone gets hungry at work. But, not everyone can walk out and grab a bite to eat. With that said, affluent professionals rarely have a choice. Always keep a clean pair of scrubs in case of a food accident or to protect patients from germs garnered elsewhere.

After work is when people gather for drinks or a sit-down meal. Keep in mind any plans made for after work and consider when a pair of clothes brought to work is the best plan of action.

Should all scrubs stay at work?

Working with patients with contagions is tricky work without the worry of contaminating scrubs. For example, patients with MRSA creates a petri dish of dangerous germs. Some pathogens carry using clothes without ever coming in direct contact with a patient.

It is better to be safe than sorry. Strip out of the germy scrubs before leaving the hospital, so bacterium and viruses do not go home or into a public space. Dirty scrubs are not a good idea in general. The risk of spreading germs combines with a fashion disaster if worn outside of the hospital or office. Give them a look over if extra clothing is not available.

Are scrubs a fashion statement of fashion faux-pas?

Scrubs come in all shapes and styles. Showing them off often is a way someone expresses themselves and their love for the job. They tend to show pride in the medical profession.

In the end, it comes down to common sense. Lifestyle and habits also contribute to the decision about wearing scrubs in public. The range of stylish scrubs is ever growing, and the ”old fashioned” uniform has trended out.