Finding The Best Fitting Nursing Uniform For You

Healthcare professionals are definitely the modern-day heroes of the Covid Era. The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare systems under immense pressure, stretching healthcare workers beyond their capacity. They are now working even longer hours than before ‘and in more demanding work environments. This stressful situation severely affects many aspects of work life balance. Not to mention, nursing uniforms take a beating day in and day out, making it essential that your uniform is comfortable and functional to perform at the high levels expected.   

When picking out clothes, you want them to fit well.  The same applies when selecting medical scrubs.  After all, you need scrubs to fit your body type and be functional for fast-pace healthcare work environment.  Medical uniforms are designed to be highly protective and cheaper than regular clothes. They are made to be easy to slip on and off. These specially designed nursing uniforms are made to withstand the rigors of the healthcare world and thus can endure longevity and withstand repeated washes. 

nursing uniform

If you want to find the best fitting nursing uniform for your role and work environment, we believe you need to look for the 3 F’s: fabric, fit and functionality. You will learn how medical scrubs are supposed to fit and the characteristics you should consider when buying a pair. Read on as we run through the basics.

Fabric

Medical scrubs are generally made up of 4 types of materials in some type of blend.

  1. Cotton
  2. Polyester
  3. Spandex/Elastane/Lycra
  4. Rayon
CharacteristicsCottonPolyesterSpandexRayon
Breathability
Moisture Wicking
Ease of Care
Durability
Fade Resistance
Stretch
Wrinkle Resistance

Cotton: One of the most commonly used organic fabrics in the world. 100% cotton was the main fabric used in the 1950’s when medical scrubs were first used.  Cotton is lightweight, soft, durable and prints show up really well. Because its breathable, you stay cool and dry throughout the day. But cotton also tends to fade or shrink with washing, soil and wrinkle easily. For this reason, cotton is often blended with other fabrics to prevent wrinkling, fading and shrinkage. 

Polyester: A synthetic fabric, good for resisting shrinkage, stains and fading. The material itself is a type of plastic, which makes it more durable, making your scrubs last longer.  Polyester is wrinkle resistant and easy to care for. It dries fast and wicks moisture from the skin, leaving you feeling dry and cool all day.  The main disadvantage is this material is not breathable, potentially making you feel sweaty, which can be uncomfortable. But more moisture-wicking polyesters are being made, which are great for the modern-day medical scrub. Modern polyesters are regarded as a high-grade fabric. Less susceptible to tearing, which makes it a great option for men scrubs. 

Spandex: A synthetic lightweight and durable fabric most often seen in leggings. You may also see the terms Lycra or Elastane when describing a type of spandex. Spandex is used to add stretchiness to any fabric, allowing movement without restriction.  Spandex is also resistant to sweating and abrasion. The main benefits of this fabric are to add comfort, flexibility and ease to any nursing uniform. It is often combined with cotton or polyester for the best blend. It is generally blended only requiring 3-4% spandex. 

Rayon:  A synthetic soft, lightweight and absorbent fabric very similar to cotton. Rayon is widely known as a cooling fabric with great breathability and quick drying. It is wrinkle resistant and smooth to touch. Like cotton it is prone to shrinkage. To avoid this, it is best washed in cold water and hung to dry.

Fit 

Selecting a nursing uniform is based on personal preference and specifically if made for either women, men, or they can be unisex (both men and women).  The fit can be modern or classic and effects overall look, comfort and mobility.  Although your scrubs should be form-fitting, Look for something stretchy and not too baggy.  Keep in mind baggy or sagging scrubs may get in the way if you are constantly pulling up your pants. 

Men fit scrub tops have broader shoulders and sleeves are cut loose for better mobility. Men’s fit scrub pants usually sit around the natural waistline or just below. Men’s fit scrub pants have a relaxed fit through the hip, butt, and thigh as well.

Unisex fit scrub tops have roomier armholes and fit straight and loose through the waist, falling below the hips. The length of most unisex scrub tops will likely fall slightly below the hips, but reference the style description for the center back length.  Unisex fit scrub pants have a rise that normally sits around the natural waist or just below with a more relaxed fit around the hips, butt, and thigh. Some women will go down a size when buying unisex fit.

Modern fit nursing scrubs are designed to fit closer to the body.  Tops may have a slightly short sleeve length and a slightly shorter center back length as well. Making exposure likely when bending over. Pants are more likely have a lower rise, below the natural waistline but generally above the hips. They are also slimmer through the hips and butt too. They are cut closer to the thigh for a more fitted feel.  

Classic fit scrubs tops will typically fall over curves and fit easily over the waist and hips. The top length runs a little longer than modern fit and covers a little more of the hips.  Pants are more likely to have a midrise or natural rise that sits at or just below the natural waistline.

Scrubs are available in different cuts.  Shirts may be V-neck (give more room) or crew cut and pants can come as cargo pants, joggers, straight legs and wide legs. Cargo pants are more functional, but joggers look better overall. 

*See Our Scrub Style Guide

Functionality

There are convenient, practical features found on medical scrubs that you will not find on regular clothes. These are important features that nurses are bound to appreciate and utilize during a long busy work shift. They can make or break a nursing uniform leading to a productive or frustrating day. You should consider the following:

  • Pockets-   Differently designed pockets are good for storing your valuables, like tools and personal items
  • Bungee loops- securely hold ID badge
  • Antimicrobial properties- increases personal safety
  • Moisture wicking technology- resist sweating

Before committing to a particular fabric, fit or function when selecting a nursing uniform, as yourself the following:

  • Is there enough stretch when you bend down or pick up an item, or when you lean forward to assist someone lying in a bed? 
  • Will the fabric retain its shape and resist stains and wrinkles?
    • Look for Polyester blended fabrics
  • Will the fabric be comfortable and resist sweating in when hot and over worked?
    • Look for >50% percent cotton blended fabrics 
  • Do you have enough pockets to place valuable items during your work shift?
  • Can your scrubs withstand frequent washes without fading or getting damaged?
  • is the V-neckline just a bit too low for the length of your torso?
  • Where does the waistline of your scrub pants sit, and is this waistline one that you are comfortable with?

There’s no denying that looking good can help you feel good, especially during stressful moments on the job.  Even when you’re helping others, it never hurts to share some of that love and care with yourself. It is our mission at Scrubs To The Rescue to promote the well-being of healthcare professionals by empowering them to look and feel their best, while they impact the world. We pride ourselves in hand-selecting styles that are high quality and will not break the budget.  Shop with us and you will feel the difference. 

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