Original Article

Is It “In” to Wear Scrubs Out?

Authors: Pavela G. Bambekova, BS, Chirag A. Buch, BS, Chelsea Mendonca, BS, Amr Arar, BS, Alireza Mirahmadizadeh, MD, MPH, PhD, Ali Seifi, MD


Objective: This study aimed to identify differences in perceptions between healthcare and non-healthcare personnel when it comes to wearing scrubs in non-healthcare settings.

Methods: An anonymous survey with 11 closed-ended questions sent via e-mail to healthcare students and employees at The University of Texas Health San Antonio and non-healthcare students and employees at The University of Texas at San Antonio. The answers were scored from 1 to 5 for each question, with a total score ranging from 11–55. Total scores were analyzed and compared between the two groups using a sample t test.

Results: 2730 people responded to the survey. The mean healthcare-related group responses scored 33.96 ± 7.65, while the non-healthcare group scored 34.47 ± 8.08, (P=0.096).

Conclusions: In this study, we found no significant difference in attitudes about wearing scrubs in public between healthcare and non-healthcare; it appears that both groups are concerned about wearing scrubs in public. Both groups agree with the value of wearing scrubs in the clinical settings only. Healthcare professionals in this study did not endorse the need to change out of scrubs after work, while non-healthcare subjects believed changing one’s scrubs before leaving a clinical setting was proper. The authors believe healthcare institutions should emphasize wearing scrubs only in professional circumstances, make a distinction between uniform and surgical scrubs, provide clean surgical scrubs to their employees, and designate locker rooms to encourage staff to change before the end of the work period.

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