Scrub History





Have you ever wondered why on earth medical professionals wear the cloths they do? Why are they named scrubs, or scrub hats? This little article will answer all your questions, even if you did not know you wanted to ask them.


The original nurses uniform was developed after the Crimean war in 1854. It was through Florence Nightingale's discovering that living conditions were of great importance to health that she advocated new sanitary conditions.  One of which was a new uniform based on the nun’s habit. This new uniform was meant to be fever proof and shield the nurse from infection. Gloves and scrub hats were not developed until after World War I during the Spanish flu epidemic, by American surgeon William Halsted. The nursing cap was first worn by Florence Nightingale and later developed into modern day scrub hats.


During the 1940s and 1950s aseptic routines were implemented in many hospitals including whitewashing everything in the operating room, including scrubs, scrub hats, walls and linens. These new uniforms were developed with the least amount of folds or pockets for easy, quick cleaning.  However by the 1960s it was discovered that this completely white atmosphere created eye fatigue for the surgeons. It was during this period that scrubs changed the light green that became associated with nurses everywhere. Modern scrubs in operating rooms are generally leased by the hospital because of laundering and sterility issues. Those scrubs that are not used in surgery are often a choice made by hospitals, offices, clinics or individual’s choice depending the use.  Scrub hats are used for hair cover and are not usually restrictive wear.


So the next time you store your medical wear in a med tote, remember Florence Nightingale not only as the mother of modern nursing but also of the beginning of medical uniforms.







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