What Are the Different Types of Hospital Scrubs?

Did you know that hospital scrubs make up a $183.77 million global industry? Experts even project those figures to rise to $276.73 million by 2029!

Scrubs, after all, are now the standard uniform of healthcare workers. There are, in turn, about 65.1 million health workers worldwide. Many of them work in hospitals, so it’s no wonder you’ll find the most scrub-wearing folks in these places.

However, modern scrubs are no longer just a way to identify hospital staff. They now also play many roles in protecting the safety of healthcare workers.

To that end, we created this guide on the most common types of hospital scrubs (AKA scrub suits). Read on to learn what they are, their specific uses, and how they differ from each other.

Laboratory Scrubs

Laboratory scrubs are the sanitary clothing worn by hospital laboratory technicians. Their work, in turn, involves taking samples of body fluids and tissues. They then analyze these samples, usually for medical diagnoses.

Because of their roles, lab technicians must wear not only scrubs but coats, too. The long-sleeved coats, in turn, provide extra protection from spills or splatters.

So, laboratory scrubs must be comfortable enough to serve as “inner wear.” For example, they must have breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics and an anti-microbial finish.

Like lab coats, lab scrubs must also be resistant to fluids. That way, they won’t absorb spilled liquids too quickly but make them bead up instead. As a result, the beads can roll off them rather than touching bare skin.

Laboratory scrubs are often washable, but only up to a certain number of times. That’s because the more you wash them, the more their materials break down. So, over time, their anti-microbial and fluid-resistant properties degrade.

Also, most hospitals don’t allow lab techs to bring their scrubs home. Instead, the garments must go to a specialized laundry facility. The laundry process must be able to remove hazardous fluids or chemicals.

Unisex Nursing Scrubs

Almost 3.05 million registered nurses are in the U.S., of which over 1.75 million work in hospitals. That count doesn’t even include licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants.

Hospital nurses are in demand, as they work in almost all aspects of patient care. For example, they speak to patients, take vital statistics, and conduct medical exams. They also operate medical equipment, care for injuries, and perform tests.

With so many responsibilities, nurses must wear comfortable and functional scrubs.

Just like lab scrubs, the best hospital scrubs for nurses are washable and breathable. They must also have moisture-wicking and fluid-resistant properties. However, nursing scrubs are generally looser, as they serve as the outermost garments.

Unisex nursing scrubs also feature a conservative V-cut neck and straight-cut design. That allows them to remain suitable for both men and women. They’re also comfortable and non-restrictive, thanks to their wider shoulder and waist measurements.

Most nursing scrubs feature several pockets designed to hold essential items. These include stethoscopes, thermometers, pens, and medicines, to name a few.

Nursing scrubs also usually follow specific hospital scrub colors for ease of identification. For example, nurses may wear light blue scrubs, while doctors wear dark or navy blue scrubs. Lab techs, on the other hand, may wear maroon scrubs.

Hospital Scrubs for Female Personnel

Just because nursing scrubs must be practical doesn’t mean they should be unflattering. There are comfy, stylish, and functional high-quality women’s hospital scrubs for sale.

Women’s scrubs feature a slimmer cut around the waist for a more flattering fit. They’re also available in lighter, more feminine colors. And while they give a better fit than the unisex ones, they still provide flexibility and comfort.

Surgical Scrubs

In the U.S. alone, surgical site infections (SSIs) cost the healthcare system $3.2 billion yearly. Over half of SSIs are superficial, but others are deeper and can affect the organs.

Many factors can lead to SSIs, one of which is using cotton fabrics as surgical attire. That’s because cotton has loose weaves and large pores. As a result, it allows skin squames, which are flat, dead skin cells, to disperse.

Unfortunately, despite being already dead, squames can still carry pathogens. Thus, they can invade a patient’s body when they fall on an open surgical site. From there, they can cause or contribute to SSIs.

Thus, the best hospital scrub suits for surgeries often consist of polyester. These fabrics feature tight weaves that help keep dead skin cells from dispersing. It’s also easier to remove lint from these garments.

Maternity Scrubs

Maternity scrubs are specifically for pregnant healthcare and hospital workers. They have all the qualities of standard hospital scrubs, except they’re more flexible.

For example, maternity scrub tops are looser and have extra fabrics for more length. Their scrub pants also have an expandable elastic panel. Such features ensure the garments can accommodate a pregnant woman’s swelling belly.

Veterinarian Hospital Scrubs

Veterinarian hospitals provide emergency and urgent care to companion animals. Some also have the license to treat and rehabilitate wildlife species.

Because of their patients, vets face different hazards than human healthcare experts. For example, vets can sustain injuries like bites and scratches from the animals they tend to. Their garments can also get soiled by animal feces.

For those reasons, veterinarian hospital scrubs must be more resistant to physical damage. They must also have an anti-microbial finish to protect wearers from animal germs. Lastly, they must be better at resisting smells than typical hospital scrubs.

Hospital Scrubs Are No Longer Just Practical

As you can see, there are many types of hospital scrubs, from lab scrubs to vet scrubs and even maternity scrubs. Now you know their specific uses and what sets them apart. You also learned that while unisex scrubs exist, some are specifically for women.

So, if you’re about to work in a hospital, be careful when selecting scrub suits. Also, remember to ask about colors, as your employer may have a specific requirement.

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