It amazes me how my ‘work fashion’ sense has changed between medical school, residency, fellowship, my job as an attending physician, and the overall work environment. Believe me, it has even varied between me working on the east coast and in the midwest. Recently, I also noticed how “work wear” varies between different women in white coats and the clinical setting they are in.
I was talking to some colleagues about their work wear and they pointed out how they decide their attire for the day based on what sort of work they are doing that day. I work in a all female group and a pediatric practice. We tend to wear lots of colors and fun clothing at work to make our work environment more festive and fun. I don’t think that having similar paw-patrol scrubs and bumble bee tee shirts would work as well in an adult only practice.
A lot of medical specialties “live in the operating room” and wear scrubs for most part of the day. Anyone who works in the emergency room and on call physicians along with residents also prefer scrubs, due to their comfort and ease. But all scrubs are not the same.
If you are looking for the perfect set of scrubs, my advice is to choose a scrub set which is good quality and feels comfortable all day. Some of my friends recently tried Affinity MedWear and Medelita scrubs and swear by them. As long as they are comfortable, the right fit and are easy to ‘just pull it on’ I think it seals the deal and serves the purpose.
One of my friends who is a fashion diva and my ‘go to’ for my fashion related questions, always looked different from the rest of us wearing scrubs. Her scrubs were carefully embroidered with her name in a contrast thread color, so that it would be clearly visible. A matching stethoscope with a color coordinated watch and a headband completed the look. Her nails were always artfully manicured and clothes always immaculate.
Some of us would wonder and tease her about her focus on these things which do not count in the medical field and do not contribute to patient care. But do they? Maybe not directly, but they may to the well-being of the physician who has to see multiple traumas in a day, who has to deliver bad news to several patients, see patients survive and die before their own eyes and still keep going. Maybe it is these little indulgences like wearing a Winnie the pooh bow tie which brightens up and makes a child smile who is in the Emergency room for treatment of asthma. Maybe it could be another way to give them HOPE.
Some wonderful women from my group showing off their awesome scrubs at work! We keep our little patients engaged!
Stay tuned for the next Fashion blog featuring…white coats!
Surabhi Batra, MD, is a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas health system and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey.