Just how tragic were your first scrubs?

Thinkstock + Wickimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

When I think about the history of my scrubs, I say to myself, “Oh Lord Oh Lord Oh Lordy Lordy Lord.” Then I go and take a quick snort of good scotch. Because my past scrub tragedies were unusually tragic.

One year, my sister had a number of scrub tops made for me. All but one of them were amazing. There was a top with sushi on a white background. There was a top with 1940s pinup girls in fishing costumes. There was even a top with pizza on it.

Huge pizza slices. With pepperoni. And cheese. Melting. And that’s the one that was amazing in a bad way.

It made me a little queasy to look at, and I wasn’t even sick.

Thankfully, I did not wear that one to work. I can’t imagine how much Zofran I would’ve been pushing had I done so.

But I did wear the first-generation hipster-cut scrub pants with the flared legs and drawstring waist. And they did—as they were prone to do—fall down. In front of a herd of interns being shepherded through our state-of-the-art medical facility, in the care of the chairman of the surgery department.

I also wore what I thought was a becoming outfit of a khaki scrub top, carefully tailored so as not to make me look like an aircraft carrier, and black scrub pants (with flared leg and drawstring waist). It wasn’t until I’d worn it the fifth or sixth time to work that somebody pointed out that I can’t wear khaki because I am khaki. I looked in need of a new liver, stat.

And I also wore whites. On purpose, by choice…although I never wore them like my friend John did, on Valentine’s Day, with black boxer shorts with red hearts on them underneath.

Going back 30 years—Lordy Lordy, am I that old? Yes, I am—to my college roommate, who was a nursing student: Her clinical uniform was a white dress with a below-the-knee full skirt and button front, a light blue bib apron and a plain white cap.

Granted, our college was old-fashioned and in a conservative part of the country. I can remember, though, commiserating with her while she polished her shoes on Sunday night in preparation for clinicals.

Little did I know that I would be wearing a snap-front, sweetheart-neckline, puffed-sleeve scrub top myself, later on. But only once.

Snap-fronts and little demented old men do not mix.

What tragic scrubs have you worn?


Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at askauntieaggie@gmail.com.

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2 Responses to Just how tragic were your first scrubs?

  1. nursectattoos

    My student nurse uniform was all white and couldn’t be scrubs, strictly nurse uniform pants, shirt, shoes and white stockings if you were in a skirt with a student nurse patch sewn on the right shoulder of your top. Mind you I am a very fair skinned, ok pasty white, lady add to that working nights I never saw much sun lol. I lost track of how many interns and hospitalists would pull me aside to check me for anemia and recommend I have blood work done. In my pictures I am just the glaring white blob. Now I have standardized uniforms and it is an eggplant purple scrub set, I work in Pediatrics now, I ran to the local store before work one day and had a kid break into tears when he looked at me and said “no shots”

  2. Dyane357

    It is my personal belief that I wore the most tragic scrubs of all time. We had just “gotten the word” that we would be allowed to wear scrubs not only in ER but in critical care areas. Up until then I, too wore the sacred sharp, white, below-the-knee dress with the “life-giving” super strength white support hose and strategically-engineered white nurse’s shoes. I was battling disease and trauma, right? My “whites” meant I was at war for my patients!!!
    WELL, my first “scrubs” was a beautifully made deep blue, soft-to-the-touch one-piece JUMPSUIT that bloused perfectly at my waist below three white buttons. Unfortunately, I had not factored in the time in would require for me to essentially disrobe and get back to the unit if I were to need a potty break! At the end of their one and only appearance, my scrubs were covered in various bodily fluids, ink marks and ripped down the front–after a desperately needed potty break that nearly ended in tragedy.