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All About Medical Uniforms

Aug 17, 2007
Since the beginning of the modern industrial era, the nurses uniform has been a standard fixture of the medical field. Typically, these professionals were noted for their solid white dresses, starched white caps and white uniform shoes; crisp and no-nonsense, and all nurses met the bar of conformity. Whether it was the country nurse who made rounds with the doctor or the nurse in the largest city hospitals tending to the citizens of the metropolis, white was the recognized color and there were few variations in the style of clothing.

Those days are gone. For nurses and those who use their services, perhaps there is a collective sigh of relief. We're quite ready for the twenty-first century, thank you. But what caused the change and what are the new options?

What should medical scrubs be? Simple, dynamic, and as characteristic as the person wearing them. Nurses who are on-the-job-training wield their nursing school uniforms as if they are already practicing the profession. In general, it is dress-rehearsal in a manner of speaking, only that they wear their costumes always.

The prohibitive cost of the nursing school uniform is more a factor of it's function than style. Most nursing school uniforms are the same as the formal attires used in the practice of the nursing profession, whether they are a registered nurse or a licensed vocational nurse. So the added benefit is that the high quality nursing school uniforms can still be used after graduating from the basic nursing course. And most all nursing school uniforms are the same in the different nursing schools throughout the United States.

If the nursing student cross-enrolls, the only thing that they would have to change on the uniform is the name tag patch. The common, homogenized design in the pattern of the nursing school uniforms is due to the uniforms' more or less have the same purpose to provide comfort, protection, and sanitation, as well as provide a visible reminder of professionalism. This isn't to sat that the nurses are disadvantaged with limited and boring nursing uniform styles that also don't fit the work-trimmed body perfectly. In fact, there are a wide range of choices for medical nursing uniforms.

Not only are medical nursing uniforms available in discount prices for wholesale and bulk-buying, but the uniforms are also available in various sizes, customized patterns, and personalized designs. Some nursing school uniforms even have fun themes. The Cherokee brand uniforms and scrubs are designed for more of a sharp, professional appearance in the nursing workplace. CREST brand scrubs and uniforms, on the other hand, have a comfortable fit and feel. Landau brand is also available for new trends of medical scrubs and uniforms, while the Barco uniforms has been an expert in the uniform business while continuing their lead in the traditional medical, nursing scrubs, and corporate identity looks. Another designer for nursing school uniforms is the Dickies scrubs; Dickies having expanded their market in professional wear.

With a veritable wardrobe of items to meet every need in the field, there are a lot to choose from. The nursing school uniforms are not limited to categories of top-pant scubs, warm-ups and jackets, white dresses, tunics, Oxford-shirts, maternity smocks, unisex coats, or jacketed lab-wear. Medical scrubs-pants alone are available in different designs and patterns such as basic pants, cell-phone pants, knit cuff and cargo pants, top-stitch wide-leg pants, wide-leg drawstring pants, wide-leg side-vent drawstring pants, and jean-style-flare leg-pants. The designs of today's uniforms even have bar-tacked stitching at the stress points or dyed-to-match ring-snap closures, refining the look and function in a more sophisticated way.

Nonetheless, all nursing school uniforms feature impeccable tailoring and attention to detail, and have superior color-retention and stain-resilience against frequent washing and wear. You can tell that a medical scrub uniform is of the finest quality by their brighter white colored fabric which is wrinkle-resistant for frequent, active movement. Crisp, clean uniforms are essential for sanitation reasons as well as professional appearance in the nursing field.

The changes to the nursing uniform look and function may have been a simple matter of fashion making its intrusive way into the industry, but there were probably some general mindsets about health care that also played a role. Over the past few years, it has come to be accepted that the attitudes of those who are patients, their families, and their caregivers play a role in the potential for recovery. Sick people simply don't need to be reminded that they're sick, and nothing says 'institutional' like a grimly attired staff. There's no need for the white color or the staunch and starched brand of professionalism of the starched uniforms.

This is especially the case for children's wards where the strict dress code has been eliminated in favor of brighter, more cheerful colors. When children are sick, the world becomes a frightening place, and especially the hospital is a strange world filled with anxiety. There's no need to further that image by having the health care professionals also look so serious. Bright colored scrubs or even jeans and t-shirts are the preferred dress code in many doctor's offices and hospitals, for the improved atmosphere.

But what about the professionals - are they less of an expert because of the relaxation of conventional apparel? Most in the field seem to agree that today's health care fashions are not only more physically comfortable, the new attitude towards medicine they present also allow the doctors, nurses, and lab technicians to have a calmer appearance. And the professionalism, they say, exists in the heart and mind of the medical care provider- not in the clothing.

So what's new when it comes to nurse's clothing? Scrubs are the hottest thing on the market, but you can forget white. White's available, but you'll have to do some serious shopping if you want it. There just isn't much of a demand for it except in certain apparel and specific environments. White is not only drab, it's also difficult to keep clean and hopeless once a spot of anything falls on it. And those stains don't have to be health-care related - mustard or spaghetti sauce for a hurried lunch is just as deadly a stain. Not that the last baby you spoon-fed didn't spit that all over you anyway.

For many nurses, popular characters from cartoons and kid's programming are incredibly popular. No matter who you favor, you'll probably find that some enterprising company has produced stylish scrubs with that character. Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, and those icons of Americanized Japanese anime comics, the Power Puff Girls, have all found their way to the world of professional health care scrubs.

Not only will you find bright colors, attractive images, and cartoon characters for scrubs, but the styles have also undergone some changes in cut and style. Choose button up, elastic bands around the wrists and ankles, pull overs, cottons or stretch. If you are a nurse or looking for a career in nursing, you'll find medicine isn't the only thing that's advanced over the past decades since the first industrial era hospitals. The way healthcare professionals dress for their important jobs has also changed and most will say the changes in fashion are all for the better.
About the Author
Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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