What You Don't Know About Scrubs

March 12, 2011
Scrubs are long timed dress for medical personnels but it was named until 1970s. Before that it was merely like a butcher's apron long ago. Yes, long before 20th century, nurses, surgeons and other operating room personnels did not wear any kind of specialized garments. They just wore street clothes or somewhat like a butcher's apron to protect their clothing from blood stains and other fluids in conducting surgeries in a room called operating theater. 

But in 1940s, advances in surgical antisepsis, now called aseptic technique, and the science of wound infection led to the adoption of antiseptic drapes and gowns was use for operating room. That time instruments, supplies and dressings were routinely sterilized by exposure to either high-pressure steam or ethylene oxide gas. Also that time white dresses or clothes was wore to emphasize cleanliness. However, all-white environment and the combination of bright operating lights led to eyestrain for the surgeon and staff. Because of that aspects in 1950s and 1960s, most hospitals abandoned white lab coats in favor of various shades of green, which provided a high-contrast environment, reduced eye fatigue, and made bright red blood splashes less conspicuous. In 1970s, surgical clothes had largely reached its modern state having a green cotton or cotton/polyester blend short-sleeve V-necked shirt and drawstring pants or a short-sleeve calf-length dress. This uniform was originally known as "surgical greens" because of its color, but came to be called "scrubs" because it was worn in a "scrubbed" environment.

Today, any hospital uniform consisting of a short-sleeve shirt and pants is known as "scrubs".Nearly all patient care personnel in Canada and in the United States wear some form of scrubs while on duty, as do some staffers in doctor, dental and veterinary offices. Support staff such as custodians and unit clerks also wear scrubs in some facilities. Almost surgeons always worn colored solid light green, light blue or a light green-blue shade, but some medical personnels have switched to pink as a theft deterrent. Surgical scrubs are rarely owned by the wearer; due to concerns about home laundering and sterility issues, these scrubs are hospital-owned or hospital-leased through a commercial linen service.