Report: Ability To Wear Scrubs To Work Is Only Thing Keeping Health Care Professionals From Quitting

According to a recent poll of nearly 20,000 health care professionals jointly conducted by the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA), 99.8% of health care professionals say their ability to wear scrubs, also known as work pajamas, is the one thing keeping them from quitting their professions entirely.

“Am I surprised by the findings? No,” said AAPA President Jeffrey Katz. He is wearing matching light green scrubs. “I mean, come on? Forget patient care and making a difference. What other professions allow you to dress like this? For that reason alone, we are incredibly privileged. In fact, it is amazeballs.”

“What was most surprising about this survey was that wearing scrubs wasn’t even one of the choices,” explained ANA President Pamela Cipriano, who is looking dapper in her dark blue scrubs today. “Everyone wrote in ‘wearing scrubs‘ in the choice marked ‘Other.’ This is clearly very important to the survival of our work force. Take away scrubs and you take away their reason for showing up everyday.”

“Taking care of patients has never been harder,” said AMA President Andrew Gurman, speaking with a somber tone to match his jet black scrubs. “Patients are sicker than ever. EHRs are the bane of every health care professional’s existence. Doctors, nurses, ancillary staff seem perpetually short-staffed yet we keep hiring administrators. The rates of burnout are higher and higher with each passing year. Suicide rates are higher than any other profession. There’s no art of medicine any more since patients, families, administrators, and the Joint Commission just tell us what to do. Other than call lights with lockout intervals, wearing comfortable scrubs to work is all that we’ve got.”

Experts also point out that scrubs are soft and soothing, allowing burned out staff to wipe away their tears repeatedly with minimal irritation to their eyes.

Cipriano, Gurman, and Katz went on to say that if scrubs were ever eliminated as attire, it is with “100% certainty” every person who wears scrubs in the health care setting would turn in their resignation letters.

Article originally appeared on Gomer Blog. This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. There are so many vitally important issues in healthcare that need to be thoughtfully discussed by those in healthcare, including nurses. It is disturbing that we waste our time on such trivia. It’s even more disturbing that a nationally known nurse leader would participate in something that is demeaning and embarrassing to the profession. We are better than that–or at least we should be.

  2. This is absolutely ridiculous and the so called “professional” associations that supported this bogus study should be ashamed of themselves. Health care professional as so much better than this. Get real. If I were a member of any of the groups affiliated with this, I would quickly be ending my membership.

  3. To think the only reason I stay in my profession as a nurse is because I get to wear scrubs is so far off and ludicrous. I continue to work as a nurse because I love what I do. It is hard work not something to make a joke of as the article seems to be making a point of. Maybe if the media and articles like this one would put a more positive spin on the profession maybe more people would become nurses.

  4. I have worked in the health care field for 30 years. RN, LPN, & Nursing Assistant. I went to school to take care of people. Not because you can wear scrubs. I hate scrubs? I like business casual attire for work. But, in the hospital setting or Long Term Care Unit scrubs are more appropriate due to the body fluids we come into contact taking care of patients. If you work in an office setting doing phone triage or upper management in an office setting it is more appropriate to wear business casual attire for your nursing position. And Yes! I agree the burnout rate for nurses is extremely high due to nurses retiring, changing the rule that all nurses needed to be a 4 year RN instead of a 2 year RN, also not as many people are going to school for nursing after high school and there are not as many nursing instructor’s teaching nurses classes anymore. Also, extremely short staff in all areas of nursing. Which puts more work on the nursing staff that is available to work in the nursing areas. Which of course causes high burnout rate.

  5. Scrubs used to be fun. Now many facilities make each different discipline wear all the same color. So now I have a handful of steal blue scrubs. Boo.

  6. Health care went down the drain when institutions began to run on “satisfaction” surveys. What does the average patient know about quality treatment when the doctor/nurse doesn’t have time to explain anything to them because they are running on a schedule to get the greatest number to clients through in the least amount of time. If the patient complains about minor things like cold food or too much noise or a wait for a bathroom visit, the survey is skewed. I want the nurse/doctor who cares for my needs to know what to do to get me well as soon as possible so I can get out of the hospital/rehab facility/doctor’s office. Good care doesn’t always mean you are “happy”; you may have to experience pain or discomfort as you are required to get up, move, cough, turn, get an injection, etc. The worst areas are mental health facilities where there is no structure, behavior programs, feedback systems, limit-setting. No pain, no gain; that used to be the understanding. Now everyone wants to be treated like they were on vacation and nurses are reporting that they feel more and more like glorified waitresses! Put on scrubs and deliver coffee, ice and snacks!

    • Those Pt’s who have to wait 5 min to use the restroom don’t give a hoot that the RN has waited 12 hours to use the restroom.

  7. Ya, That is why I took a $50K salary cut, and got my BSN and became an RN was so I could wear scrubs. HA! I became a RN to help people. I could do it in a shirt and tie, or scrubs, although I prefer scrubs.

    • I total agree and I did the same thing, over the last 10 years I have lost about $1million in gross income between school and decreased pay, and I would probably be retired now if I stayed where I was at. I care about my patients, although it is impossible to give the patient the time they need and deserve. Some days I am burnt out, because I ran my buns off without breaks, and felt my patients were worse off d/t the work loads. The reasons I stay is if I can make a difference in one persons life, it is worth it. Other reasons, Team work of the unit, and Insurance.
      Scrubs are comfortable, there are a times I would like to dress up for work. Shirt, tie, and lab coat but it is not as functional as the proper scrubs for the movement, and body builds that sometimes come our way. Scrubs are just a tool of the trade just like a really good stethoscope.

    • I totally agree. I think it is demeaning to act like we are nurses because we “get to wear scrubs”. Absolutely ridiculous. Nursing is a hard job and I do it because I care about the patients and I want the best quality care for them so that they can attain their best possible outcomes. That is WHY I am a nurse.

  8. Our physical and occupational therapy home health uniform is all black scrubs. I get to wear dog hair all day that shines like diamonds in bucket of coal. I’m a canine/feline DNA cesspool when I get home. Why black?? Sigh….

  9. I love my scrubs! I have been wearing scrubs before I became a nurse. I am still wearing scrubs now and I have been for 30+ years. Don’t ever take wearing scrubs away from our profession.

  10. Should it matter what you wear to work to save lives. Id be glad they were there to take care of me. I wore scrubs for 36 years and proud of it

  11. I miss wearing my white uniforms, white hose and white shoes. Almost daily I received a compliment by patients, and or visitors,”it’s so nice seeing a nurse look like a nurse”! Often with scrubs you need a program to tell the difference from a nurse or housekeeping!

    • White dress and tights? NO THANKS! I’d prefer to be “mistaken for housekeeping” than wear that outdated garb! Evidence based practice used to not be a thing and now it is and look how far we’ve come! Change is good.

  12. Where i work we wear white tops and bottom color depends on your working unit. I miss the days we were able to wear our own colors and prints. My agitated elderly patients would calm down as they studied my prints!

  13. Scrubs are a statement to the patients. In a LTC facility this is their place of residency. They look forward to the stories behind the scrub. Those who can comment on the cute, the pretty, the holiday messages displayed from the chosen scrub of the day. Administrators who dictate one color be worn are being insensitive to the residents in the facility. And, as the article points out, wearing scrubs is the one enjoyment staff can still have while giving care to the residents. Why not focus on the other issues that do affect care — proper staffing, adequate supplies, cohesive coworkers.

  14. I am glad to wear scrubs. I became a nurse when we had to wear white units and they showed everything you got on you. I have been vomited on,peed on, pooped on,and have gotten blood on me wearing whites and it showed. Being able to wear scrubs hides those messes most of the time and you still look professional when dealing with patients and their families even though you know what you got on you they may not see ir.


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