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Nursing Scrubs Reinvented

Medical uniforms

Funky prints on nursing scrubs make children's hospitals and retirement homes just a bit livelier

Nursing scrubs have gone from drab to fab. Yes, fashion has invaded even the most somber of hospitals. Gone are the days when all nurses were dressed in boring white, blue, or plain green attires. The trend nowadays is to add more 'fun' in healthcare, and the nurses are gladly dancing to the tune.

The trend started in when some children's hospitals decided to lessen the hospital environment's stuffy feeling by adding child-friendly prints like cartoon characters to their nursing scrubs. The vogue soon hit the healthcare industry, and now, nurses in convalescent homes, convalescent hospitals, retirement facilities and rest homes are also taking care of patients, in style.

Arlene Mira of Key West, Florida, was one of the first to manufacture these upbeat ensembles in 1994. A registered nurse herself, Arlene grew tired of the dullness of the hospital work wear, and decided to spice things up by designing nursing scrubs with tropical prints. Her vibrant scrubs quickly caught on throughout the Florida area, and medical offices, hospitals, and even assisted living facilities and old folks' homes began to order sets by the bulk. She eventually expanded her business into what is now the famous 'Scrubs of Key West' company, and in 1998, opened two retail stores. Arlene then sold her company to two medical professionals who went wholesale with the fun uniforms. They manufactured and marketed coordinating jackets, pants, surgical caps and even scrunchies, and all items can be mixed and matched. The products became instant hits.

In making these fun nursing scrubs, the first two standards of medical apparel still applies: comfort and functionality. Most scrub tops are made of 100% cotton for maximum wearer comfort, and pants are usually made of 65/35 poly/cotton blend that does not shrink and retains color integrity. What's more, the scrubs usually don't require ironing - perfect for the medical professional who is always in a hurry.

These cheery nursing scrubs are also becoming increasingly functional. The newer designs have built-in pockets for mobile phones, pens, notepads and even personal digital assistants.

The overall styles of nursing scrubs are beginning to mimic popular fashion, and cuts like 'cargo flare scrub pants' and hip 'mini V-neck tops' are fast becoming best-sellers. This means good news to both nursing scrub manufacturers and fashion-savvy nurses. In fact, new scrubs are so fashion-forward and comfortable that even non-medical professionals (mostly students) buy them for everyday lounging wear. Those comfy pants and V-neck tops you find in hip clothing retail stores? That's right; most of them were inspired by nursing scrubs.

The amusing outfits have likewise found a new purpose, marketing-wise. Some hospitals and healthcare facilities order one-of-a-kind, specially-made nursing scrubs that carry the hospital or healthcare unit logo either modestly on the front pockets, or more conspicuously throughout the whole top-and-pants ensemble. These unique scrubs become nurses' uniforms.

Whether it is good or not that scrubs have replaced the traditional nurses' uniforms is still subject to discussion among practitioners, but the way things are going, it looks like nursing scrubs are here to stay. These amusing ensembles will surely make their ways fast into all children's hospitals, convalescent and retirement homes, and just about every healthcare facility that could use a bit more fun. And there's no harm in that.