Scrubs are possibly the most comfortable uniform on the planet. The fit and material are loose for ease of movement and cool comfort. The drawstring or elastic waist fits a body through weight fluctuations. People outside of the medical environment wear scrubs for these reasons.
You can't do anything about non-medical personnel wearing scrubs, but you can do something about the uniform program in your health care facility. Here are three ways to manage the scrubs policy in your medical office or health care center.
Consider Color-Coding Scrubs by Role
When the first scrubs were worn in operating rooms in the mid-20th century, scrubs were blazing white. The color was considered pure and sterile in appearance. However, surgeons complained of eye strain and laundry services realized how hard it is to keep white scrubs clean.
Light green and blue scrubs became the norm in the '70s. Today, medical professionals can choose from a rainbow of colors and patterns of scrubs. The diversity in uniform hues has led to some problems for patients. In one study, 89 percent of respondents said that it would be helpful if medical staff wore color-coded uniforms.
Many hospitals have switched to color-coding. Some facilities have up to 20 different uniform colors designating everyone from housekeeping to lab to surgical staff. This type of system can become complicated, so keep it simple in a smaller office.
Instead of separating nursing staff by role, allow all nursing staff to wear shades of green. All of your office staff can wear shades of purple or gray. However you set up your color-coded scrub plan, seek out feedback from your staff to help you develop a fair system.
Develop a Clear Policy for Outside Wear
There are growing concerns over the possibility of medical staff spreading infectious diseases when they wear scrubs outside of hospitals, doctors' offices and clinics. Studies have shown that nurses working in hospital settings often collect a variety of germs — including MRSA — on their scrubs by the working shift's end.
In many cases, health care staff do not work directly with patients, or they work with patients who are at low risk of carrying infectious diseases. If your staff comes into contact with sick or contagious people or bodily fluids, institute a policy for scrubs-wear in public.
One solution is to have staff wear lab coats over their scrubs whenever they will be examining or working with patients. The lab coats are not allowed to be worn in public. This provides a layer of protection for the scrubs and reduces contamination, so your staff are less likely to take germs home.
You should definitely have a policy to address contamination by blood and other contagious agents while on duty. Staff should change into fresh scrubs after any such event to avoid contaminating patients and other staff.
Set Up a Laundry Service for Scrubs
Increase the safety of your staff, patients, facility and the public by hiring a laundry service to manage your staff scrubs. A laundry service that handles medical linens and uniforms can disinfect your staff scrubs far better than their individual home washing machines.
Uniforms from a laundry service arrive hung or folded neatly, so your staff always looks fresh and clean. If you have a dressing area set up in your facility, staff can wear street clothes into work and change into scrubs. At the end of the day, dirty scrubs are placed in the laundry-service bags and your staff leave in their own clean clothes.
Many health care workers are so tired at the end of the day that they wear scrubs home to save time. If you provide a laundry service for their uniforms, they won't mind taking the extra time to change into and out of scrubs. After all, they gain the time they would lose having to wash and disinfect their own uniforms.
General Linen & Uniform Service is your source for medical linens and uniforms in the Southeast Michigan and Northern Ohio region. Contact us today to get your scrubs and medical-linens from people who've been serving the health-care community for almost 100 years.