(By: Tammy McKinney)
Okay, nurses. Let’s have a moment of honesty. You’re still wearing those same old scrubs you had in nursing school, aren’t you? You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re tattered and faded, but feel like old, comfy pajamas. Or, maybe you have actually bought some new ones, but just how long ago was that? A year, two years, 10 years? It’s easy to get into a routine of wearing our favorite uniforms and not want to take the time and effort to buy new. But, switching out your scrubs for new on a regular basis is important for so many reasons!
It’s a sanitary thing. Hot water washes with a dash of vinegar or bleach just aren’t enough to kill every bit of bacteria that can end up on your scrubs. According to research, tons of bacteria is brushed onto or lands on your scrubs throughout your shift. It’s really quite gross if you think about it and it puts you, your family and your patients at risk of transmission! While having a brand new set of scrubs for each shift may be unreasonable, be sure that you’re laundering them appropriately and aim to replace them on a yearly basis.
It’s a professional thing. We all have that nurse friend who insists on wearing the same, ragged old scrubs to work. You know she’s a great nurse. Her patients love her. And yet, she looks like a total mess every day. One thing all of these gals have in common is that they are rarely, if ever considered for a promotion. While they are loved and respected, they aren’t viewed as professionals and therefore are stuck in their current position. Whether you want to move up in your organization or not, you certainly don’t want to be viewed as unprofessional or sloppy in your dress. Replacing your scrubs gives you a leg up simply by portraying a sense of professionalism and care, therefore giving management, patients, families, and coworkers a reason to take a second look. And in addition, the feeling that you get from those fresh duds lends you the additional confidence that you may need to apply for and land whatever position you’re shooting for!
It’s a comfort thing. I know, I know. You’re thinking that your old raggedy scrubs are the most comfortable things you’ve ever worn. Trust me when I tell you that a pair of new scrubs is akin to brand new underwear or socks. The way the soft fabric feels against your skin and the way the shape hugs you in all the right places will send shivers down your spine! Well, maybe not shivers…but you get the point. They’ll feel great!
It’s a seasonal thing. Depending on where you live and work, changing seasons may mean that you need scrubs of varying thickness. Surely, you don’t want to freeze all day at work during the winter and sweat like a farm animal during the summer. Neither of those are good for your overall appearance. So, take some care to seek out scrubs that will keep you comfortable, so you can focus on what’s really important!
Regardless of why you decide to switch out your old scrubs for new, do it frequently enough to stay clean, fashionable, comfortable and professional. Yearly on your date of hire is a great time to place an order, but every 6 months is even better. Even if you simply re-order the same scrubs from the previous year, at least you’ll avoid looking tattered and inadvertently carrying around tons of nasty bacteria!