Medical uniforms have undergone tremendous change since the dawn of scientific discovery. Scientists have often worn lab coats as a form of protective layering, but it wasn’t until much later that physicians and other professionals began wearing lab coats as an emblem of specialty, training, and culture. By the twentieth century, medical workers saw the need for a clean environment that was conducive to surgery and other forms of medical care. Labwear.com wanted to take a closer look at the history of scrubs, to learn how they changed and became the casual uniform they are today. In this guide, we take a tour through time to discover how the modern medical set of scrubs came to be.
History of Scrubs and Uniforms
During World War I, the exorbitant amount of injuries grew so rapidly that hospitals and healthcare facilities realized the necessity for sterile uniforms that could also withstand the difficulties of demanding medical care. Up to this point, it was not at all uncommon for surgeons to perform surgery in their street clothes with nothing but a simple apron to keep clothing clean. At the end of the first global war, America succumbed to a devastating influenza pandemic that killed between 20 and 40 million people. This epidemic inspired doctors to wear masks for protection from infection.
By the middle of the twentieth century, awareness of wound infection necessitated sanitary operating rooms and the first use of medical scrubs. Back then, medical attire was little more than gowns or drapes that would cover clothing as the doctor and medical staff operated. Nurses first began wearing scrubs throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. They were originally designed not to allow for differentiation between staff positions or departments, but bright white attire was found to strain the eyes and cause headaches. As the years passed, nurses were permitted to wear nonsurgical scrubs in a multitude of colors, including blue, green, pink, and yellow.
Today, uniform scrubs are predominantly worn for comfort. Manufacturers focus on maximum mobility, antimicrobial protection, soil release, and other features that are practical to the demands of the modern medical environment. If you have any questions about the history of scrubs or would like to learn more about our selection of scrubs, please contact us today for additional information or further assistance.