A few decades ago, nurses across the country and around the world wore uniforms. Typically, these professionals were noted for their solid white dresses, starched white caps and white uniform shoes. And all nurses conformed. Whether it was the country nurse who made rounds with the doctor or the nurse in the largest city hospitals, white was the recognized color and there were few variations in the style of clothing.

Those days are gone. For nurses and those who use their services, there are two words to be said – Good riddance. But what caused the change and what are the new options?

The change may have been a simple matter of fashion making its way into the industry, but there were probably some general mindsets about health care that also played a role. Over the past few years, it’s come to be accepted that the attitudes of those who are sick, their families and their caregivers play a role in the potential for recovery. Sick people simply don’t need to be reminded that they’re sick. There’s no need for the white color or the “swishing” professionalism of the starched uniforms.

This is especially the case for children’s wards where the strict dress code has been eliminated in favor of bright colors. When children are sick, the world becomes a frightening place. There’s no need to further that image by having the health care professionals also look like scary people. Bright colored scrubs or even jeans and t-shirts are the preferred dress code in many doctor’s offices and hospitals.

But what about the professionals? Are they less because of the relaxation of apparel? Most seem to agree that today’s health care fashions are not only more physically comfortable, they also allow the doctors, nurses and lab technicians to present a calmer appearance. And the professionalism, they say, exists in the heart and mind of the care giver – not in the clothing.

So what’s hot when it comes to nurse’s clothing? Scrubs are the hottest thing on the market, but forget white. You’ll have to do some serious shopping if you want solid white. There just isn’t much of a demand for it except in certain apparel and specific places. White is not only drab, it’s also difficult to keep clean and worthless once a spot of anything falls on it. And those stains don’t have to be health-care related – mustard or spaghetti sauce for a hurried lunch is just as deadly.

For many nurses, cartoon characters are incredibly popular. No matter who you favor, you’ll probably find that some enterprising company has produced scrubs with that character. Betty Boob, Bugs Bunny, and Power Puff Girls have all found their way to the world of professional health care scrubs.

Not only will you find bright colors, attractive images and cartoon characters for scrubs, but the styles have also undergone some changes. Choose button up, elastic bands around wrists and ankles, pull over, cotton or stretch. If you’re a nurse or looking for a career in nursing, you’ll find medicine isn’t the only thing that’s advanced over the past decades. The way healthcare professionals dress for their important jobs has also changed – and most will say the changes are all for the better.

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