From Habits To Scrubs: The Evolution Of Healthcare Uniforms

While we associated scrubs with nurses, doctors, and medical professionals, these weren’t always the uniform of choice. As the healthcare industry has evolved over the centuries, so have the uniforms of healthcare professionals. So, where did wholesale medical uniforms like scrubs come from? The Healthcare Uniforms Australia team decided to do some research to discover the history of wholesale medical scrubs and predict the future of healthcare uniforms.

A History Of Healthcare Uniforms

The history of healthcare uniforms dates back almost as far as human history, as people have been practising forms of medicine since the beginning.

  • Pre-1700s. Because of the primitive knowledge of medicine, physicians often doubled as butchers and dentists. The only resemblance of a uniform would be the butcher’s apron they wore. There were healer women and men who lived in rural towns, but there was no set uniform for these people.
  • The 1700s. Many physicians and surgeons simply wore their own clothes, sometimes with an apron over the top. Nurses up until the 19th century were only nuns, also known as nursing sisters, so their uniform was a habit and a long gown.
  • The 1800s. Florence Nightingale was recognised as the first modern female nurse, and when a school opened in her name, they introduced a uniform that was simply an ankle-length pinafore and a hat. In 1889, the first physicians began to wear white coats to mark their profession, and the first medical scrubs were invented. Surgeons primarily wore this long gown to keep themselves clean and the operation area sterile.
  • The early 1900s. WW1 and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 enforced gloves and masks as necessary elements of a medical professional’s uniform. Nursing was one of the only professions available for women in the early 20th century, so their uniforms were designed to be gentle but authoritative. The Red Cross developed uniforms for nurses that had shorter sleeves, shorter hemlines, and trousers. Doctors and surgeons wore frock coats to mark their status as experts in their field.
  • 1950s – 1980s. The white uniforms of the early 20th century signified cleanliness and purity but paired with bright lights and an all-white environment caused severe eye strain for medical professionals. It didn’t take long for operating staff to transition to the green uniforms that would soon be known as scrubs (because the staff had to scrub clean before operating).
  • 1990s-present. The unisex, easily laundered wholesale uniforms became popular and are now synonymous with healthcare. These uniforms are typically made of stain-resistant cotton/polyester, with short-sleeved shirts and drawstring pants. Sometimes different coloured scrubs represent ranks or specialisation.

Why Are Wholesale Medical Scrubs The Go-To Modern Healthcare Uniform?

There are many reasons why medical uniforms have evolved to become the scrubs we know and love today.

  • They’re cheaper to buy wholesale. When you’re providing uniforms for a whole team of people, it can become expensive very quickly. Scrubs are an incredibly efficient and inexpensive way to provide uniforms for large staffs of people.
  • They’re more hygienic than regular clothes. Unlike other clothing, scrubs can withstand harsh chemicals, high heat, and intensive cleaning methods to keep them sterile and clean. Additionally, many wholesale work uniforms are made from antimicrobial fibres, making them bacteria and stain-resistant.
  • They’re practical. For doctors, nurses, and medical professionals to perform at their best, they need a functional yet comfortable uniform. Healthcare Uniforms Australia are uniform wholesalers committed to providing the highest quality uniforms. We only stock ranges of scrubs and uniforms that are known and loved by medical professionals all over Australia.

What Does The Future Of Medical Uniforms Look Like?

Fifty years from now, buying medical and nursing uniforms wholesale will probably look entirely different again. Healthcare is one of the fastest-changing and growing industries globally, and we have no doubt that the uniforms of tomorrow will look very different. Healthcare Uniforms Australia has a few predictions about what the future will look like for wholesale work uniforms.

  • Say goodbye to the white coat. People are already calling for an end to the famous white laboratory coat that was once a favourite of doctors everywhere. Some believe the white coat is an unnecessary status symbol, and others claim white coats make them feel nervous, unsafe, and anxious. We predict that doctors won’t be wearing white coats for too much longer.
  • Scrubs will use more hygienic materials. We predict advances in the materials of our medical uniforms over the next few years. Research is already underway to create scrubs that are more stain and bacteria-resistant, so we believe this will impact the uniforms of the future.
  • Scrubs will embody athleisure wear. We’re already seeing brands like Biz Care combining the comfort and breathability of athletic clothing with scrubs’ functionality to create versatile, fashionable medical uniforms. The Healthcare Uniforms Australia team see the appeal and potential of these trendy-looking wholesale medical uniforms.

If You’re Looking For Wholesale Medical Uniforms, Head To Healthcare Uniforms Australia

At Healthcare Uniforms Australia, we understand the demands of the healthcare industry, and we understand that uniforms need to be durable, versatile, and comfortable. That’s why we provide high-quality, functional uniforms at competitive prices. We’ve been a reliable supplier of premium customisable uniforms Australia-wide for more than 30 years, and we’ve been providing uniforms for the healthcare sector for over ten years, making us one of the first points of call for numerous healthcare facilities. If you need to buy scrubs in bulk, browse the range at Healthcare Uniforms Australia.