Historically, fashion is not dictated by purpose or comfort. In the field of health care, however, necessity has created a booming business in the field of uniforms for workers in medical fields. These new uniforms are called "scrubs" and they are, to date, the most fashionable, brightly colored, comfortable and most fun work wear for health care workers.
White uniforms, shoes and stockings with starched white caps have become the uniform of the past. Such a sterile-looking uniform identified and differentiated nurses from other medical caretakers. Starched caps and solid white uniform dresses which became the symbol for "nurse" have, thankfully, left the scene.
Around 1980, more comfortable and more aesthetically pleasing uniforms were designed for health care workers. This style copied the clothing worn traditionally in operating rooms (OR), which are called "OR greens" or "scrubs". Previously, female nurses had to wear "OR greens" dresses but modern concerns for the sterile, antiseptic environment of the OR eliminated this ludicrous requirement. The elimination of "scrubs" dresses became particularly important as hemlines become shorter.
The dresses were, at long last, eliminated from OR supplies. Eventually all OR staff began to the wear green cotton, v-necked tops and drawstring waist, loose-fitting pants provided by OR supplies. These loose fitting pants and tops were designed to ensure that surgeons and other OR personnel remained cool, comfortable and clean during surgery.
It wasn't long after that a good percentage of hospital personnel, who cherished the comfort and cool style, seemed to be wearing their "OR greens" into other hospital departments. Sometimes "greens" were also taken to be worn outside of hospitals. Authentic "OR greens" are immediately recognizable because they usually bear a stamp with the hospital ID on the pants back pocket as well as on the front of the shirts.
The style took on a designer level of popularity and hospitals were losing money fast because thousands of their "greens" were disappearing from their supplies. As a result uniform companies began manufacturing "scrubs" for hospital employees to wear in lieu of the real thing. This new uniform style, which copied the look and comfort fit of "OR greens" became popular immediately.
It was soon after declared illegal to wear "OR greens" outside of the OR, especially if they were verifiably lifted from a hospital; subsequently, the manufacture of "scrubs" uniforms became a niche business with a healthy bottom line. As soon as "scrubs" came into style, nursing caps were out. Caps harbor nasty bacteria and microbes which are easily transferred to sterile equipment, to patients, etc. And so it was decided that they were detrimental to a safe, health environment. Furthermore, they looked quite silly in contrast to the stylish "scrubs" uniforms.
Patients comment often that the bright colors and patterns materials make them feel good. It is important, especially in pediatric centers, that "scrubs" uniforms provide a more friendly atmosphere. "Scrubs" made out teddy-bear patterned material and bright colors provide a calming effect for young patients instead of a traumatizing one.
Newer and more trendy styles of "scrubs" are hitting the market at record breaking pace. And all "scrubs" no longer resemble their predecessors, the good old "OR greens"; however, they are comfortable, clean and stylish work-wear for hospital employees and nurses and aesthetically pleasant for patients to see. Men's and women's styles are available leaving the old starched white uniforms in the past and "OR "greens" theft far behind.
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