Although both terms, surgical gowns and medical gowns, can be used simultaneously to describe the same type of uniform used by healthcare professionals, there is a difference. I have spent the last three decades wearing surgical gowns as a surgical assistant, as well as observing other members of the healthcare staff who wear medical gowns. Now I supply surgical and medical scrubs as a retailer and started to notice the differences. The differences are mainly in terms of functionality, design and style. I will try to describe these differences.
First, in terms of functionality, the surgical cleaner is designed for use in the operating room or other surgical facility. In the surgical facility, the patient remains immobile and caregivers must adapt to provide care. When providing care to these patients, caregivers must have unrestricted movement. This requires bending, twisting, stretching, and contorting the body to reach the appropriate areas of the patient to provide care. Other tasks require moving equipment with electrical cables that require pushing, pulling, and even kneeling. These people are always on the move and rarely stand still. Due to these movements, it is necessary to wear loose clothing and without restrictions. In contrast, caregivers wearing scrubs generally provide care to patients who can move to accommodate the caregiver’s needs or are sitting at a desk doing administrative tasks. These people are not required to move their bodies as extreme as surgical caregivers. Therefore, they can wear more restrictive clothing, such as scrubs.
The design of surgical scrubs and medical scrubs is drastically different. Both are designed to fit the functionality of the uniform. Surgical scrubs are typically a square cut blouse with a loose V-neck design with simple patch pockets. The hem is straight leg. The waist is a drawstring, elastic, or a combination of both. The cord is by far the most common. Pants usually have a single flat pocket. In contrast, medical scrubs are available in many designs. Most are designed with sparkles and curves to fit the contour of the body. Blouses are available in various neckline designs, including rounded and wrap-around. Pockets are usually eye-catching designs and shapes. Scrub pants are designed with flared legs and curvature in the hip area. Pants always come with elastic bands at the waist and are designed to be worn at both the waist and hips. The design of scrubs limits the freedom of movement without confinement of the scrubs.
The style differences between surgical and medical gowns are the most drastic. Put simply, surgical scrubs are out of style. They are always a unisex style, so they can be worn by both female and male caregivers. Surgical scrubs are also always solid in color. The lack of style of the surgical scrub allows the surgical caregiver to perform at an optimal level without uniform restrictions. As for medical scrubs, the style is limitless and wide. They are available in many colors, patterns, and styles. Medical scrubs are designed for women and men separately. These styles are designed to fit the body like most other streetwear and have an attractive look. Scrubs styles compromised functionality to attract fashion. The difference may be related to a sweatshirt and sweat pants (surgical gowns) and a business suit.
Both terms are interchangeable in everyday life. There are also many other terms that describe these uniforms, such as hospital gowns, doctor’s gowns, and nursing gowns, to name a few. Regardless of the term used, the important aspect of buying and wearing scrubs is selecting the correct functionality, design, and style that meet the needs of the caregiver’s duties. In fact, this is much more important than the term.