If you are a male nurse, you are no stranger to wearing scrubs. It is also likely that you have a love/hate relationship with scrubs. While they are comfortable and certainly save on time, donning scrubs every day can be boring, and there is not a lot of room for diversity.
Why Are Scrubs Essential in the Medical Profession?
Just like postal workers and police officers have a designated uniform that allows them to do their work efficiently, nurses also have a uniform: scrubs. One obvious reason for wearing scrubs is so that patients and other medical workers can distinguish between health providers, patients, and other personnel in a busy hospital or healthcare workplace.
Scrubs also contribute to the cleanliness of a medical setting, as contaminants are easily identified on the plain fabric of a scrub uniform. This feature also makes owning several sets of scrubs tops and bottoms essential to ensure you always have a clean uniform to wear. For this reason, scrubs are also typically manufactured from a stronger fabric than standard workwear clothing so they can withstand constant cleaning and sanitizing.
Due to continual advancements in fabric technology, more manufacturers than ever before are creating scrub-wear that is highly functional and long-lasting. They feature details like multiple accessible pockets and a loose fit that makes it possible to wear personal clothing underneath while maintaining maneuverability and comfort.
The Difference Between Women’s and Men’s Scrubs
Wait, there’s a difference? Yes, absolutely. Although you can purchase unisex scrubs that are made to work for both male and female nurses, most scrubs are designed and constructed specifically for either the male or female form to allow for the best possible fit. Men’s scrubs are designed for a broader shoulder and thicker waist, while women’s scrubs are made to accommodate larger hips, a chest, and a thinner waist. Usually, unisex scrub-wear works better for men than it does for women, but if you are not of average size or build, getting men’s scrubs will allow for a better fit look more professional.
How Men Can Choose a Decent Set of Scrubs
While they might look like fairly simple pieces of clothing, scrubs are specifically designed to provide comfort and utility on long shifts. Taking a few factors into consideration before purchasing your scrubs is the best way to ensure long-lasting comfort for a 12-hour shift. By looking for the following features, you can increase your comfort on the job and ensure that your scrubs end up in the laundry rather than the trash after a hard day.
Maintaining Your Style
Being required to wear scrubs to work does not mean you can’t look nice in them or maintain a sense of style. Most medical facilities require you to wear a specific color uniform, often just a single color. However, there is a certain amount of variability in any color range that you can work with, and some workplaces even allow nurses to wear patterned scrubs or multiple colors.
Being constrained to one color does not mean that you can’t get creative with your style. Choose a scrub top that features darker side panels for a slimming effect, or pants that have V-shaped panels at the ankle for a boot-cut fit. Also, if you have the option, consider mixing and matching shirts and pants for a unique look and use different shades of the same color for a little variety. Scrub tops and pants are also available with trim-detailing at the neck, on the sleeves, and down the seam of the pant in complementary colors for additional variation.
Most male nurses find that V-necks are more comfortable, but crew necks are another neckline possibility, as are short, long, and three-quarter-length sleeve variations. If you work in a colder climate or your workplace is air-conditioned, opt for a stylish scrub jacket to wear over your scrubs.
The Importance of Fit
Despite their function and utility, scrubs should not be baggy, shapeless pieces of fabric. Never buy a size bigger to ensure your uniform fits: bigger does not equal more comfort. It will also cut down on your uniform’s functionality, and no one wants to spend their already stressful workday pulling up oversized scrub pants. Additionally, with oversized uniforms, you increase the likelihood of getting contaminants on your scrubs.
Ensure your top is long enough to reach your hips and stay tucked in when you bend over or reach. Pants should not be long enough that you step on them when walking, and dragging hems are also a tripping hazard, as well as an opportunity to spread all sorts of toxins that lurk on hospital floors. Walk around, sit, bend, and stretch in your new scrubs to see how they feel and test their comfort level. If the scrubs you like the most don’t quite fit exactly as you would prefer, have them altered. It is inexpensive to have pants hemmed, and many dry cleaners offer alteration services.
The fabric that you choose makes a huge difference to their overall fit and certain materials are more comfortable and easier to clean than others. Cotton scrubs are popular because of the fabric’s breathability and ease of wear, but they are not as strong as other fabrics and may require constant replacement. If you are typically hard on your scrubs, look for stronger materials, such as polyester, synthetics, or blends of several materials. Most scrubs are constructed of both synthetic and natural materials for the best of both worlds.
If you have a hard time finding comfortable scrubs for your body type, newer, stretchy fabrics are another option that can be a lifesaver when it comes to comfort and maneuverability on the job. Finally, consider looking for scrubs constructed of antimicrobial fabric to maintain both you and your patients’ health and safety, and look for anti-shrink fabric and materials that resist fading for a style investment that lasts.
Functional pockets are an essential feature of any healthcare worker’s uniform. Having more is usually better, as you are often required to have free hands while you transport patients but need access to a variety of tools and other items at all times.
Your scrub top should have at least one easily accessible pocket and your pants should have a minimum of two (one on each side). Back pockets and a pocket or two on the thighs can be quite helpful, as well. Ensure that your pockets serve their purpose and are deep enough to hold what you need them to without worrying that items will fall out.
The Comfort You Need, the Style You Want
Despite common misconceptions, men in the healthcare field need to put as much (if not more) thought into buying their work uniform as those in any other field. By following these tips and tricks and knowing what to look for in a scrub uniform, you can easily find scrub uniform options that provide the comfort you need and the level of style you are looking to achieve.