Medical Scrubs History and Facts: What You May Not Know

Medical Scrubs History and Facts: What You May Not Know

Most hospitals and medical practices around the world now require doctors and nurses to wear scrubs while on the job. These scrubs are designed to protect healthcare professionals against hazardous substances, bacteria and other contaminants. They also help patients identify doctors and nurses if they need to locate them quickly.

Historically, scrubs were not very pleasant or fun to wear. They were designed purely for their functionality over comfort and style. However, today, scrubs come in many different designs and styles, and they have become a bit of a fashion statement in the healthcare profession.

With so many changes, you may be wondering how scrubs originated and came to be the essential workwear garment they are today. Let’s take a look.

Fun Facts About Scrubs

Surprisingly, there is quite a story behind the evolution of scrubs and here, we will explore a few fun facts.

A Timeline for Scrubs

These iconic uniforms have been around in one shape or form for many years, however, as we will discover, they have gone through quite a transformation over the years.

Before the 1800s

During the 1800s, nuns were the primary medical caretakers in society and they wore their distinctive and recognizable habits and aprons while caring for patients.

The 1860’s

This was the era when Florence Nightingale opened a nursing school in London. She wanted patients to be able to tell the difference between doctors and nurses, and as a consequence, one of her students designed the first nurse’s uniform. This was a long dress with a white apron and a cap. Different colors of ribbons in their caps were indicative of their rank and seniority.


At the turn of the twentieth century, medical professionals became more aware of just how quickly infectious diseases can spread. This was mainly due to the Spanish flu, an exceptionally deadly influenza, which gripped the world for a number of years. This was the first known time when doctors wore scrub masks, and nurses uniforms became more feminine and tailored.

The 1940’s

By the mid-twentieth century, antiseptic techniques, such as white outfits, and antiseptic drapes in the operating room became more prominently used.

The 1950’s and 1960’s

After the Second World War, green-colored scrubs became the new norm for medical professionals because they found that they were increasingly suffering from eye strain and headaches in the stark white operating rooms. This was also the period when scrubs became industrialized. They became less form-fitting, but much more practical and importantly, much easier to wash.

The 1970’s

This is the time when the foundations for this iconic modern medical attire was created. They were called ‘surgical greens’ and they were most popular when more male nurses started entering the nursing profession. They disliked wearing the caps so much that they were phased out, and nurses stopped wearing them altogether. It was at this time that scrubs had found their limelight

Modern Day

Today, almost every medical facility requires their patient care personnel to wear some type of scrubs. Typically, these are v-neck, short-sleeved shirts with a pair of drawstring pants. However, the world of scrubs has come a long way from its early beginnings and today, they have become quite a fashion statement with even warm-up jackets with long sleeves and knit cuffs available.

Little Known Trivia About Scrubs

Did you know that when it comes to scrubs, color actually plays quite an important role?

  • While the design of scrubs might be similar, there is real meaning behind their color. White scrubs have gradually been phased out of fashion due to their starkness, which caused headaches and eyestrain, and also due to their impracticality when trying to remove stains. Surgeons today will typically opt to wear a shade of blue or green, as these colors evoke feelings of calm, and they are even known to lower blood pressure and ease anxiety in patients. There are also many different color and pattern options available to healthcare professionals outside of the operating room. Some medical facilities also make use of the colors to identify different staff positions.
  • Did you know that scrubs are no longer only used in the medical profession? There are also athletes and many travelers who enjoy wearing these scrub pants joggers. Because they are so lightweight and made out of moisture-wicking material, they have found that they can move around in them much easier. They are also super durable and they will last a long time, because they are crafted from high-quality fabric.
  • When it comes to scrubs fashion, we have come a very long way. During the World Wars, surgeons used to wear butcher’s aprons over their regular civilian clothes but it soon became apparent just how crude and unhygienic this was, and the fashion of scrubs started.

Find Your Perfect Fit With Blue Sky Scrubs

We at Blue Sky Scrubs believe that no one should endure wearing uncomfortable scrubs while they are doing such a valuable and important job helping others. Your uniform should never be a source of irritation or discomfort, Instead it should aid your comfort all day long so you can focus on the job at hand. This is why, we at Blue Sky Scrubs have launched our modern lines of scrubs to bring style and comfort to everyone in the workplace.

Whether it is a fitted, comfy scrub top, or tailored, classy scrub pants that you are after, we have got it all covered. We have all the styles, sizes, and designs you could ever need.

Shop with us today to find your perfect-fitting slim scrubs and accessories.