The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Scrubs for Healthcare Travelers

by Howard Gerber on April 7, 2016

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choosing nurse scrubs tipsHow you dress is one way you present yourself to staff and patients. Many healthcare professionals wear scrubs when they are at work. You might have no other choice when it comes to your work wardrobe, or you might just prefer to wear scrubs.

The good news is more scrub choices are available today than in the past. The bad news is scrubs may still not be your top fashion choice. Regardless of whether you love them or hate them, there are some scrub dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO check to see if the hospital has a certain policy for which color scrubs you can wear. For example, nurses might be required to wear blue scrubs while physical therapists may have to wear green. You don’t want to spend money on scrubs only to find out you can’t wear a certain color.

Do find out if you get a uniform allowance or if the hospital provides scrubs. Some hospitals pay for scrubs for their employees. If you’re accepting a travel assignment, you may also get a uniform allowance.

DO keep comfort in mind. You want to be comfortable during your shift. Consider which style of scrubs are the most comfortable to move around in. Depending on your job, you may be repositioning patients, moving equipment, and bending or squatting throughout the day. Drawstring or elastic waistbands may work well.

DO choose the right size. Scrubs that are too baggy are unflattering and can even look sloppy. If possible, try scrubs on before purchasing and select something that fits well without being too tight. You don’t want to bend over to pick something up and split your pants.

DO limit accessories. A ring, a watch, or a small pair of earrings is okay, but excessive bracelets or long dangling earrings probably are not good choices. Also, skip the perfume and cologne. You don’t want to send someone into an asthma attack.

Don’t mix too many bright colors or prints. Printed scrubs can be cute, but don’t go overboard with all types of patterns and bright colors that hurt the eyes.

Don’t wear scrubs that are too revealing. Keep it professional, which means no deep V-necks or undies peeking through. It’s not just women who should avoid low-cut scrubs or t-shirts. Male chest hair peeking out through a scrub top is also a no-no. When it comes to scrubs, a big fashion faux pas is trying to make them look inappropriate.

Don’t wear low riders. But in the hospital when you’re bending over, you don’t want to be showing too much. If you do prefer low riders for comfort, consider wearing a t-shirt under your scrub top and tucking it in to prevent your backside from peeking out when you sit down.

Don’t forget the basics. Keep in mind, you’re representing the hospital or medical facility you’re working at. Scrubs should be neat and clean without a lot of wrinkles.

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