June 19, 2010

Fashion Trends and the Medical Field

Posted in Nurse Fashion tagged , , , , at 3:18 am by Nursing Tales Team

Not long ago, the halls of  hospitals were filled with medical staff wearing white.  White pants or skirts, white shirts and even white hats (depending on how far back you want to look).  The fashion of medicine was formal to say the least.  Doctors may not have worn white, they may have walked onto the scene dressed in their business suit; while the nurse stood by in her white coat, dress and shoes.

When you think of the health care profession, you probably don’t associate fashion with.  You are at work to perform specific duties; to touch lives and help your patient’s deal with their medical issues.  But fashion has indeed evolved in this field over the years, and thankfully so; now you get to wear your Elmo or Stars and Stripes scrubs instead of a button down, knee length dress to work!

The easing of fashion ties began first in pediatric wards of hospitals, where pastel colored uniforms took the place of traditional white uniforms.  While it didn’t happen over night, the pastel uniform slowly became accepted in other parts of the medical field as well.

Scrubs were seen first and foremost in the operating room because of the need for a sterile environment.  Rarely did you see them anywhere else.  But as with all trends, the scrub revolution was on and crept into all areas of the medical field.  I mean, how could it not when scrubs are so incredibly comfortable and versatile?

Now that scrubs are the new uniform, this too has evolved into a huge fashion trend.  The first scrubs were that traditional green-blue color worn in the O.R.; but now they come in all colors and patterns to fit the personal style of any nurse or doctor.  Scrubs are also now available with anti-microbial properties that help guard against infection of patient or health care worker. The anti-microbial action lasts through hundreds of washings.

It used to be thought that the white coat and strict uniform attire was more professional and created a mental barrier between staff and patients.  This could be true,  but is that space really necessary, or is it best to create a comfortable environment where the patient feels both confident in your abilities and relaxed by your informal presence?

I guess the bottom line is that what works works.  In scrubs, you are comfortable and have the ability to move freely about your day.  Walking around in medical Crocs or comfortable tennis shoes could actually be making you better at your job in the long run, so go with the flow.

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