The Nurse Wore Scrubs Instead of a Dress and Apron
Jessica Anderson, a nurse at the Royal London Hospital, set out to break the Guinness World Record for running the London Marathon in a nurse’s uniform. Completing the marathon in 3 hours, 8 minutes and 22 seconds, she blew past the previous record by 32 seconds. But Guinness World Records is denying Anderson the title for wearing the wrong uniform. Anderson completed the marathon in a pair of blue scrubs, but Guinness defines a nurse’s uniform as a blue dress, apron, and a traditional nurse’s cap.
The ruling has spurred widespread criticism within the nursing community. Learn more about the race and why Anderson was denied the Guinness World Record.
Jessica Anderson Sets Out to Break the World Record
Jessica Anderson signed up for the London Marathon fully intending to break the Guinness World Record for running the race in a nurse’s uniform. When she showed up for the marathon in scrubs, the Guinness World Records told her beforehand that in order for her time to count, she needed to wear a traditional nurse’s uniform, which the organization defines as a skirt, apron and a nurse’s cap. But Anderson ran the race anyway and beat the previous record by 32 seconds.
In addition to wanting to break the world record, Anderson also set out to raise money for items for the hospital unit where she works, including dementia-friendly clocks and signage, a bladder scanner, and some furnishings for the staff room and day rooms.
A Contentious Ruling
After the race, Guinness denied Anderson the world record for wearing the wrong uniform. According to the organization, scrubs do not count as a nurse’s uniform. “Full-body scrubs are too close to the organization’s definition of a doctor’s costume”, according to Guinness officials.
In an interview with Runner’s World, Anderson contested the ruling: “Their definition is just so outdated. Some of the nurses I work with do wear dresses but mostly we wear scrubs or a tunic and trousers. I’ve certainly never seen a male nurse wearing a dress to work. I’m sure Guinness World Records doesn’t intend to cause offence, but it would be nice if they decided to revise their criteria instead of reinforcing old gender stereotypes.”
But Guinness World Records stood firm by its original ruling, stating, “Inclusiveness and respect are values that Guinness World Records holds extremely dear, and while we always need to ensure we can differentiate between categories, it is quite clear that this record title is long overdue a review, which we will conduct as a priority in the coming days.”
Dresses, aprons and caps have long been associated with the field of nursing, but that’s not the case today. In the fast-paced world of healthcare, nurses often wear scrubs for more comfort and convenience on the floor.
Scrubs are also gender neutral. Considering 9% of the nursing workforce is male, scrubs are a more inclusive way of defining a nurse’s uniform. Hopefully, Guinness World Records will change its policies going forward so nurses can wear the uniforms that best represents what they do.
Anderson’s Fundraising Efforts Surpass Expectations
All this controversy has led to at least one silver lining. Anderson set out to raise £500 ($660) during the race, but since the contentious ruling, she’s raised £2,400 ($2,689). Word has spread like wildfire on social media and in the news. CNN and The New York Times have both picked up the story, bringing more attention to Anderson’s cause.
With this added attention, Anderson and her colleagues should be able to buy more equipment for the hospital ward, benefiting her patients and the other nurses on staff at the Royal London Hospital.
At Scrubs Magazine, we know how important scrubs are to nurses everywhere. We proudly salute Jessica Anderson and all she does for her patients.