Although medical scrubs as we know them have been around for about 70 years, the most significant
improvements evolved in just the last five. Prior to 2008, clinician scrubs, as opposed to nursing scrubs,
were unisex. They were patterned on straight lines with right angles, and often made of cheap, coarse,
uncomfortable fabrics. Those fabrics pilled quickly and stained easily. While scrubs like that are still
available, now vastly superior alternatives are as well. Here’s a list of the key advancements in the design
and manufacture of the medical scrubs worn by clinicians:
- In 2008, a physician assistant, frustrated with what she had to wear to work every day, started
designing and manufacturing medical scrubs specifically for clinicians – physicians, physician
assistants, and nurse practitioners. Two of the first improvements she implemented were the use
of different patterns for men and women, and curves instead of straight lines. The new patterns
succeeded in accomplishing their goals – complimenting the male and female body.
- To improve the fit, she introduced the same sizing systems for medical scrubs that were
traditionally used for quality apparel. Women’s sizing, for example, went from the 6 sizes
available in the Small thru Triple Extra-Large scale, to the 9 sizes available in the 0 to 16 scale.
- Next, that same physician assistant introduced to medical scrubs the performance fabrics that had
recently begun to be incorporated into the design of high tech fitness wear.
- Finally, she integrated into her designs specialized fabric treatments. After extensive testing, the
most effective and relevant of these treatments were applied to the performance fabrics.
- Ironically, the durability achieved through these and other innovations yielded an unexpected
benefit. Because these high quality medical scrubs last so much longer, on a cost per wearing
basis, they were actually less expensive than the cheap scrubs they were replacing.
The physician assistant/entrepreneur who pioneered these changes was Lara Francisco. The company she
founded was Medelita www.medelita.com. Today, her company is leading the transition to medical scrubs
with properties unimaginable just a few years ago.
The medical scrubs described above enhance the professional image of every clinician who wears them.
They’re incredibly soft to the touch yet unbelievably durable. They breathe, wicking away perspiration
while very effectively maintaining resistance to odors. Of particular interest to clinicians, they’re practically
impervious to almost all stains, even blood.
These developments in the evolution of medical scrubs have had a profoundly positive impact on the way
clinicians present themselves to their patients and their families. Consequently, it’s expected that in the next
few years they will become the standard for all medical scrubs.