So today I’m going to answer the question that I was asked the other day.

When I was asked the question, I really only had one answer.

After doing some more research and thinking about it a little longer, I’m ready to fully answer the question “why nurses wear scrubs?”

So, why do nurses wear scrubs? Nurses wear scrubs because it’s mandated by facility rules. On top of that, wearing scrubs allows the nurses to be easily identified by patients and patient’s family members and it helps protect personal clothing.

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Why do nurses wear scrubs?…

1. Because nurses have to wear them.

I wanted to get the most straightforward answer done right away. Hospitals and facilities many times have uniform requirements that nurses have to abide by.

While some nurses might not necessarily like this for the patient and their family members, there is an added benefit.

2. Because you know who the nurses and staff are.

This is a big benefit for the patient and their family members because along with the badges all hospital staff have to wear this allows the patient to be able to identify who a hospital staff member is, and what their title is.

I used to work for a hospital that mandated all staff had to wear a particular color scrubs.

So physical therapy had one color they had to wear. Respiratory therapists had another color.

Nurses had their own and so forth.

A patient that has been in the hospital for a couple of days could tell who was the staff walking into his or her room based on the color scrub they had on.

This is not always consistent from facility to facility because I worked for another hospital that didn’t really care what color scrubs nurses had on.

If you walked into a unit, you would see all sorts of different colors nurses were wearing.

It’s not necessarily wrong, but as a patient, you couldn’t tell the nurses apart from any other staff member.

Another thing that’s an interesting thought when it comes to scrub colors is some facilities will have different departments wear different scrub colors.

The two most notable are the operating room departments and the maternity (labor and delivery) department.

For high-security departments like the maternity units, you can see why it would be very important to know who the staff members are walking in and out of that unit.

Related: What Do You Wear Under Scrubs?

3. Because scrubs are cheaper than your personal clothes…usually.

One of the reasons scrubs end up being a good option for nurses is because replacing them tends to be cheaper than trying to replace your personal clothes.

If you look at some of these Landau scrubs, you can see that they’re less expensive than a lot of the clothes you might have in your closet.

I know there are exceptions to this and that you can buy more expensive scrubs, but for the most part, I would rather replace my scrub pants than trying to replace my jeans or my dress pants.

4. Because scrubs are just easier to clean.

Do you know what I do with my scrub pants when they’re dirty?

I throw them in the washer and use bleach if I have to. Can you imagine trying to clean your jeans or your dress pants every single day?

Nurses are exposed to a lot of bodily fluids and germs every shift. From experience, scrubs are just easier to clean.

5. Because scrubs are more comfortable to be in.

This might be a personal preference, but for me wearing scrubs for an 8-hour shift, 12-hour shift or 16-hour shift is a lot more comfortable than trying to wear jeans.

I think scrubs tend to fit better and are just more comfortable to have on for more extended periods, especially when trying to do patient care like bed baths or patient transports.

Related Article: 10 Top Scrub Brands for Nurses

6. Because they help with professionalism.

Say what you will about scrubs, but one of the nice things about wearing scrubs is that it helps with professional attire and appearance for the nursing profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are some FAQ that are commonly associated with the question “why do nurses wear scrubs?”

1. Do all nurses have to wear scrubs?

No, not all nurses wear scrubs. Nurses who do not work directly with patient care many times do no wear scrubs but instead wear business attire. An example would be a nurse case manager and a clinical nurse manager.

2. Why is a dress code so important for nurses?

The reason why a dress code is so important for nurses is because it helps with professionalism and establishing trust among patients.

3. Can nurses wear any scrubs they want?

No, nurses cannot wear any scrubs they want. They need to look at their facility policy and see what guidelines are set. Depending on the facility, some nurses might be restricted in the color of the scrubs or where they have to get their scrubs.

4. Why do nurses wear scrubs in public?

Nurses wear scrubs in public usually when they’re running errands either before or after work.


As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why nurses wear scrubs. If you found this article informative, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media channel.

Let us know what your thoughts are in the comment section below.

Also here are some other related articles you might find interesting.


  1. I thought it was interesting when you explained that nurses wear scrubs because it is easier to clean the germs that they are exposed to on a daily basis. I would imagine that since scrubs are so cheap, they can probably be purchased in bulk amounts. That way nurses won’t have to be getting new ones on a weekly basis.

    1. I think it really depends.

      You can get cheap scrubs all the way to designer scrubs. I suppose it’s all relative to what you actually pay normally for apparel items.

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