Just like any profession has its standard dress, the medical profession has it too. In the present time, scrubs are worn by all healthcare professionals as per the requirement. Much before the scrubs started, the surgeons used to cover their regular clothes with an apron to keep themselves clean. It was only in 1918, that the doctors even started putting on masks, which was majorly for their protection from the wounds of the patients.

Introduction of Scrubs

It was in 1940 that the medical health experts were more aware of the infections and felt the need of having specific operating rooms. This was also the time that they discovered that antiseptics can also be used to prevent infections and kill bacteria and pathogens. Post that in 1950s and 1960s, the scrubs came into the picture and were used in all operating rooms.

William Halsted an American surgeon, was the person who developed a pair of latex gloves and surgical gowns for the first time. These gowns were supposed to be used only during the surgery time but owing to other sanitary causes, the evolution of medical uniform started. They got the name scrubs as they were used primarily by all medical experts in a clean or scrubbed environment. The scrubs initially were made with a white coloured fabric that exhibited cleanliness.

Then with time, they started coming in different colours like pink, green and blue. White colour scrubs also got replaced as they used to distract the attention of the surgeons due to the reflection of bright light. The other colours chosen also have some merits as:

  • Reduced eye fatigue
  • Progressive work environment.
  • Fewer distractions
  • Fewer bloodstains were visible.
medical scrubs

In the year 1970, green surgical scrubs were very common and laid the foundation for non-surgical scrubs used by the healthcare experts in the medical facilities. In the present time, most of the medical staff must wear medical scrubs, especially while rendering any services in a scrubbed environment.

The hospitals lease or even own surgical scrubs on account of issues with sterility. The scrubs for both men as well as women are made from durable fabrics like cotton, rayon, polyester or a blend of these to offer comfort, durability, offer resistance against shrinking, weatherproof, moisture absorbent etc. The medical scrubs used presently are available in many colours and have the same fit as the initial green scrub. The scrubs do not segregate between the patient care workers, patient care divisions, and even the support team

Any medical uniform with short-sleeved shirts and drawstring pants presently is referred to as a scrub. The scrubs for both men and women medical professionals come in a variety of styles, fits and colours ranging from short-sleeve shirts, V-necks, wrap tops etc. The drawstring pants are used for comfort, some scrubs even have jackets and gowns. V-necks are used to avoid any irritation to the skin while wearing or taking it off and they are reversible as well.

Physicians generally use their white lab coat in case they are not undergoing any surgical procedure comprising of body fluids or blood else other staff like nurses and support staff must wear one.

Scrubs used today also help in the identification of the healthcare experts not by speciality but by profession. Different colours can be for a different profession like surgeons, nurses, technicians etc.


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