Do I have to Wear Scrubs During Nursing School?

One of the biggest transitions most nursing students will make during their nursing program is wearing scrubs in nursing school. Though most of the program’s early classes don’t require scrubs, students will soon find that they’re spending more time outside the classroom and working in clinical environments that teach hands-on, practical skills required by the profession. Most schools have differing timelines on when this will happen, and it’s worth noting that the scrubs requirement will vary based on whether students attend a university, community college, or hospital-based program. Before starting the program, consider the key things to know about the program itself, the scrubs uniform, and when it comes into play.scrubs

Why Do Nursing Schools Have a Scrubs Requirement?

From the outside, it might seem like the scrubs requirement is a bit out of place. After all, most nursing students won’t actually be working with patients until very late in the program. Why are scrubs required if nursing students will be mostly behind the scenes, learning skills away from the general public? The answer is actually pretty clear: To properly educate future nurses, schools need to fully simulate the nursing environment. That means students will be given the same tools, technology, and dress code as their certified counterparts early in the program.

There is at least one upside to this requirement: Almost all nurses believe that scrubs are actually far more comfortable than even a good pair of jeans. In fact, most students eventually come to associate “scrubs day” with “dress-down day” at most nursing schools. Though it’s an awkward uniform to transition to at first, it quickly becomes second nature and actually quite comfortable.

When Does the Transition Take Place?

In community college programs, which are more accelerated and focus on core nursing skills early on, most students will be required to wear scrubs and attend clinical sessions by the time their second semester starts. This is actually very early in comparison to four-year nursing programs, where nurses typically don’t need to prepare for a clinical environment until late in their second year of study, or early in their third year of the program. Both groups of students are far behind aspiring nurses who work and learn in a teaching hospital.

At hospitals where entire nursing programs are hosted, students typically show up in scrubs on the very first day of their very first semester. This requirement stays with them throughout the program and follows them directly into their professional practice as a licensed nurse.

Does the School Provide Scrubs to its Students?

In most cases, schools will not provide scrubs to nursing students. Instead, scrubs are simply viewed as another educational expense that students need to afford on their own. In this way, scrubs are similar to textbooks or other supplies that students in other majors require during their own programs. At hospital programs, however, official scrubs are typically supplied by the program to ensure that nurses-in-training can be easily identified by instructors, fellow professionals, and any patients that students might come into contact with.

Think of Scrubs as a Benefit of the Nursing Program

Nursing school is no easy venture, with long hours and clinical experiences required early in the program. For this reason, nursing school students should view the requirement to wear scrubs in nursing school as a more comfortable way to get through the long days, tough exams, and complex terminology that precedes their licensure as a Registered Nurse.