By Cindy Lima

Uniform scrubs are different from what they were 100 years ago. The evolution of the popular clothing began because of hygienic reasons.

History Of The Medical Uniform

Medical uniforms first evolved as the world went into a crisis during World War I. The amount of individuals injured increased so rapidly that nurses could not keep up with the demand. Many died because nurses were not able to take care of them properly. Once the world found itself caught in crisis again, nurses had better preparation with a different style of medical uniforms. Nurses were credited with low post-injury mortality rate during the war. The less bulky uniforms were able to help the nurses save more lives than the previous war. Even though this was a victory for nurses, uniform scrubs would not come to the picture until a loved one became sick within the medical field.

Nurses wore long gowns for protection against infections from patients. However, that did not protect them from such diseases. American surgeon, William Halsted, fell in love with a nurse by the name of Caroline Hampton. She developed dermatitis because of harsh chemicals used to disinfect hands for surgery. William Halsted developed the first pair of latex gloves and surgical gowns. Uniform scrubs were first produced by the surgeon but they still remained as a long gown.

The gowns were first only meant to be used during surgery, but because of more sanitary reasons, medical uniforms began to evolve. It would take a couple of decades for medical uniforms to evolve into uniform scrubs. Uniform scrubs were popular for surgeons at first and that is where they began. However, it was the efficiency that gave a reason for everyone in hospitals to begin to wear them.

The Rise Of The Scrub

Nurses first began using uniform scrubs during the 70’s and 80’s. The major cultural shift during that decade caused scrubs to become the main uniform for the medical staff. The pants and shirt were easier to move in which meant more patients could receive treatment.

Uniform scrubs are now the modern uniform for the medical staff because they are more comfortable for medical employees to be running around all day. Modern uniform scrubs help the medical staff at hospitals save more lives.