Nursing Uniforms

The Evolution of Nursing Uniforms


Since the first professional nurses were actually nuns, the first nursing uniform was gray or blue attire and full-length sleeves, high collars, and skirts. This was to protect them from contamination and the cold. Over time as the role of a nurse evolved, so did nursing uniforms. Skirt and sleeves became shorter, which allowed for more comfort and movement. Instead of wearing a belt, there were added pockets to carry essential equipment.


The original color changes from blue and gray to white were done in order to signify cleanliness. However, there were then complaints about eye fatigue in the operating room that led to personnel wearing green as their uniform choice. Green scrubs are still normal in many different operating rooms. White uniforms can show stains and spills but they can be bleached. White remained the status quo until the 1960s and then more colorful uniforms became popular and more accepted. In the 1990s, nurses started to wear colorful scrubs that many will still wear today.