Scrubs are pajamas. Initially a simple garment to be worn and left in the operating arena, the scrubs are now available in many a color and pattern to be worn by nurses, billing agents, medical assistants, doctors and anyone else in any way associated with physicians.
The fact that most people have no idea the difference between the girl who takes their copays and the nurse that evaluates them, most people assume they are all “nurses.”…
I get it all the time, “Well, you get to go to work in your pajamas. How cool is that?” I’ve worn many different uniforms in my work career from slacks, shirt and tie, to industrial workwear and just plain old jeans and a t-shirt and now I get to wear “pajamas” to work. Sorry, that’s bullshit. I am required to wear a uniform that happened to have been co-opted as pajamas. To me, a uniform signifies that it is time to go to work, I call it “getting on my game face”. Those “pajamas” tell me it is time to work, leave the world behind and focus on my job – my patients.
Now there are those that spoil this for those of us who take it seriously. Since everyone and their uncle who works in health care gets to wear scrubs, there are bound to be the one’s who abuse it. I cringe when I’m out shopping and see people in scrubs, it sets the wrong idea, especially when those wearing them are misbehaving. It is still bad behavior to break HIPAA whether you are wearing scrubs or not, it just makes it more conspicuous when you are in scrubs.
There are two issues here that get intertwined and blurred. First there is professional behavior. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, you need to maintain a professional mien when representing that job/career/profession. And yes, health care workers are held to a higher standard, get used to it. It’s even more important when you are clearly identified by the public (by your wearing scrubs to the bar/lounge/grocery store/porno shop) to be a professional, because they associate scrubs with nurses/doctors.
Acting like an idiot in scrubs makes a bigger impression than it does in street clothes – people notice. Second is the proliferation of scrubs into so many different fields. Are they the doc/RT/PT/housekeeping/CNA/RN? You can’t always tell. Not to mention those outside of the hospital like vets, dental folks, office staff and the like where this has spread into. Too many people wearing scrubs makes life confusing. And due to this proliferation, clamping down and restricting use will be near impossible. All that is left is some sort of uniform – like our friends in EMS/Fire/Police, or hospital color coding by job function.
As long as the color is not white, I can get behind this. More so, I think that institutions need to require changing at work. You get to work, change out of street clothes into hospital uniforms, then do the reverse when you leave. If we are so worried about the spread of superbugs, why isn’t this a common sense idea? I leave my work shoes at work and change clothes (partly because I usually commute by bike) on arriving and leaving. It goes to the idea of getting my game face on.
The lesson here? Scrubs are every bit a uniform, just like other professions. Unfortunately there are those that wear my uniform that are unprofessional and act like idiots when in public. Painting all of us with the same brush is just as bad.