Overloaded nurses – can scrubs designers keep up?


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These days, lightweight pagers that fit in a clip-on holster are becoming less common in hospital settings. Many nurses are carrying heftier technology such as a cell phone or smartphone for communication on the job. These are often too bulky to attach securely to a waistband—especially the elastic and drawstring varieties found on many scrubs. Then, there are all the other items nurses tend to carry around. Take a quick inventory of your scrubs pockets and see how many of these items you find:
  • Pens (usually several)
  • iPod or MP3 player
  • Marker and highlighter
  • Scissors
  • Calculator
  • PDA
  • Tape
  • Hemostats
  • Alcohol wipes
  • EKG calipers
  • Calculator
  • Tegaderms
  • Pen light
  • Angiocaths
  • Keys

With all that stuff to tote, many nurses can’t get by with just one or two pockets on a scrub top. They need more storage space—and they need it now. Currently, one of the most popular uniform pieces for these nurses is the cargo pant scrub. The more pockets the pants have, the better. Danielle Saxon sums it up with this endorsement: “Cargo pants rock!” Deldonna Porter responds, “I totally agree about cargo pockets. I carry as little as possible—too much weight on my shoulders kills my back.” Cargo pant scrubs allow nurses to shift heavier objects out of their scrub tops and relieve some of that back pain.

Pockets over Pockets with Pockets on Top
Layering is another very popular option for overloaded nurses. Sally Rawlings describes her typical outfit this way: “Cargo pocket pants, scrubs with two low front pockets and a warm-up type jacket for the pockets.” Lab coats are a common choice in settings where nurses are allowed (or required) to wear one. According to Jessica Rutledge, lab coats excel when it comes to spacious pocket design: “I have extra large pockets on my tops, and I wear a lab coat almost always. I can fit a liter bag of fluid in those oversize pockets, so I can carry A LOT of stuff!”

Nurses Want Smarter Designs
Some nursing professionals have very definite ideas about what they’d like to see from scrubs manufacturers. Here is Jeffrey Bodurka’s concept: “I would love to have scrub pants with an elastic waistband and elastic around the ankles that had cargo-style pockets. It could maybe Velcro close and have pen and light holder slots, and be just big enough (and snug enough) to hold, say, a cell, iPod, calculator or whatever without being too baggy so that it would fall out.” Adding Velcro and pocket flaps to keep stuff from falling out are top suggestions. Some nurses even modify their own scrubs with Velcro and add various clips to hold scissors and other items securely.

Scrubs Suppliers Have What It Takes
Fortunately, many companies are catching on to the fact that nurses need scrubs that fit their modern work style. One industry contact revealed plans for increasing the functionality of future scrubs designs: “We are designing additional pockets (exterior and interior), multisectional instrument/accessory holder, added security snap pocket, buttoned pocket, etc.” Unisex cargo pant scrubs are already available with either Velcro or flap pockets from manufacturers like Cherokee. The company also carries a lovely pink blush pant with three cargo pockets, a scissor pocket, a D-ring and five belt loops. One brand-new “Flex-i-bles” style includes technology-specific adaptations such as a cell phone pocket. A wide spandex waistband helps hold these pants securely in place no matter how much you weigh them down. Any of these bottoms can be paired with a trendy printed scrub top (like the colorful “Take Leave” design from the Serenity collection) and layered with a flared lab coat for additional storage space.

Sponsored by Cherokee Uniforms


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