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 Components of a Nursing Uniform 
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Post Components of a Nursing Uniform
by: Cynthia Andrews

There are few figures as iconic in our culture as the image of a nurse in uniform. It ranks alongside policemen and fire fighters in terms of recognition. Though most people are familiar with what nursing uniforms look like, not everyone knows exactly what components make up these uniforms. Different hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices may have different requirements in regards to how their nurses dress, but most nursing uniforms have the same general components even if they seem to look significantly different from each other. Nursing uniforms are generally designed to be both comfortable and functional, with every uniform component designed with long shifts and patient contact in mind.

Scrub Shirts and Tops

The most well-known component of a nursing uniform is the scrub top. Scrub tops generally look similar to oversized t-shirts, though the cut and materials of the top is slightly different. Scrub shirts are designed in this way so that there aren’t many places where dirt or infectious agents could become trapped, thus reducing the chances of a nurse spreading infection or becoming sick themselves. The material of scrub tops is often treated to prevent staining or bacterial growth, but for those that aren’t the simple design make the shirts easy to wash. And should the shirt happen to become damaged or badly stained, as often happens, they can easily be replaced at a low cost. Scrub tops are available in a wide range of colors and prints and each hospital and health centers have their own rules and regulations that establish exactly what color and style of scrub tops their particular nurses can wear to work.

Scrub Jackets or Warm-Up Jackets

In addition to scrub shirts, many nurses also wear scrub jackets or warm-up jackets as a part of their uniform. These jackets are designed to work overtop of scrub tops and share the same minimalized design to help prevent dirt or infectious material buildup. A scrub jacket will generally feature no lapel, have two large pockets, and be made up of a lightweight material. The oversized pockets make the warm-up jackets useful for carrying commonly-used items without them becoming too bulky or hot. Like scrub tops, scrub jackets are easy to wash and can easily be replaced at a low cost if they become badly stained or damaged. Scrub jackets can also be found in a wide range of colors and prints so it is relatively easy for a nurse to create a more attractive work uniform by picking colors that complement the top underneath.

Scrub Pants

Scrub pants that nurses wear are loose-fitting pants that follow the same design philosophy as scrub tops and jackets. They are lightweight enough to remain comfortable during work but still provide the necessary protection needed against potentially infectious materials. And like the counterpart jackets and shirts, scrub pants are designed to be easily washable and inexpensive to replace. Also, like scrub shirts and jackets, the pants are offered in a variety of different colors and prints, allowing them to be matched or contrasted to the other parts of the uniform.


While many parts of a nursing uniform are designed around washablility and simple styling, the two main concerns reflected in the design of the shoes that nurses wear are durability and comfort. During working hours, nurses generally remain on their feet for a large portion of their shifts. Therefore having the proper foot support and comfort can make a large difference in regards to how well nurses can perform on the job. Most nursing shoes are also designed with reinforced toes to prevent injury from being a nurse’s foot being inadvertently stepped on or having something accidentally knocked onto it. Anti-microbial treatments are also commonly used in shoes worn by nurses, as they can greatly reduce the chance of infectious materials ability to survive should they make contact with the shoe. Clogs are the most popular style of shoes amongst nurses as they are designed to be stain-resistant, durable and comfortable. Clogs are also popular because they are extremely light-weight can be both easily put on and taken off.

Other Uniform Components

Depending on the exact location of where a nurse works, other uniform components may be available or in some cases required. Scrub hats are used in surgical practices and laboratory settings in order to prevent contamination caused by loose hair and other potentially harmful pollutants. Shatter-resistant goggles are also commonly used by nurses to provide eye protection during surgical procedures, especially when dealing with potentially infectious materials. Popular everyday body accessories such as watches and bracelets are closely regulated by uniform guidelines specific to the hospital or health center where a nurse works. This is often done in order to prevent overly-complex accessories that could harbor harmful bacteria and germs.

About The Author
Cynthia Andrews is a freelance writer who writes about the nursing industry and products involved in nursing such as scrubs.

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Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:34 am
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