November 10, 2021 3 min read

The question of whether to wear personal clothes under scrubs or not has been around for a while and it always gets a complex response; “It depends”. Well, just like the response, there are situations where you can do this as it is even preferable to do so. However, it is not permitted to be done in specific situations. We’ll be discussing via this post, the guidelines to both scenarios to help you avoid making mistakes.

When you should wear ONLY Scrubs

If you find yourself working in an operating room, you shouldn’t wear any clothes underneath your scrubs as it is usually not allowed. This is because the operating theater needs absolute cleanliness to avoid contamination through the spread of pathogens – and you never know what’s on your personal clothes. Therefore, it’s better to keep the theater safe by wearing only your hospital-issued, sterile scrubs. Another reason why wearing personal clothes is not allowed is because of the element of professionalism added by wearing scrubs in a sterile and sensitive environment. Consequently, today’s standard surgery room involves short-sleeved V-necked scrub tops with drawstring pants made of green colored cotton blended with polyester or just cotton.

Due to these considerations, it is important to have good quality scrubs specially reserved for such situations. Always make sure it’s short-sleeved to avoid having your scrub sleeves dangle into fluids or spread germs in the operating theater. This will also make it easier for you to wash your hands and easily change the scrubs if they get stained in an emergency situation.

What to keep in mind if your Job permits wearing personal clothes underneath your scrubs

If your job allows you to wear personal clothes underneath your scrubs, the first thing you should consider is how fitted your personal clothes are on your body. Make sure they are not so loosely fitted to avoid them hooking onto objects in the facility or even make you look baggy and sloppy. Remember, you have to appear professional at all times, therefore make sure your clothes are snugly fitted just like a t-shirt would fit under a light jacket. You can also wear long sleeves as long as they can be rolled up above the elbow if the need arises.

Another appropriate option would be to wear slightly tight tees or shirts with a collar under your scrub tops. They are acceptable since they can help you keep you warm and comfortable in certain circumstances. You can also wear tops with three-quarter length sleeves as they can also provide you with comfort and allow you to wash your hands properly whenever you need to. As long as these are not restricted in your facility, they are great options!

Try to avoid the use of jewelry like bangles below the elbow when you’re on duty. This is necessary for sanitary reasons as they can assist in spreading pathogens to other areas of your body.

With these few points mentioned above, I believe you now know what is appropriate when it comes to wearing personal clothes under your medical scrubs. The right answer to each situation is bound on several factors including the spreading of pathogens and hygiene. Therefore, when you get confused about what to do, pick the choice that most supports cleanliness.


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