Nursing students taking notes

Penn Admissions Blog

About Scrubs
Kelsey | February 10, 2018

As someone who loved fashion in high school, I feel it is my duty to warn any fashion lover contemplating nursing school that these upcoming years may not be your most fashion-forward.

Before you panic and decide never to be a nurse and return to your beloved Pinterest boards, let me explain: in nursing school, you wear scrubs. A lot. I have clinical for six hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a two hour lab – all of which require scrubs. Last semester, my labs were on Wednesdays, so this meant mandatory scrubs three times a week. We also had to visit the hospital to pick up information about our patients the night before clinical, and we were required to either wear scrubs or “business attire” – so Mondays were either a cute outfit or scrubs if I was too tired to think about what to wear when planning my outfit at 8am before class. This literally left Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as days when I could choose my attire.

As much as I love nursing school, this is definitely not my favorite part. I love being able to plan and execute a good outfit, and I am a firm believer that what you wear really can set the tone for your day. I also don’t like sticking out – the worst feeling for me was sitting in my STAT101 class last semester looking like the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street in my all-blue outfit.

But in a way, my scrubs make nursing school feel a little bit more like home. The second I get to Fagin, scrubs aren’t weird. Scrubs are something to be proud of, and something that unite us. There’s something really comforting to know what everyone else will be wearing when I go to class, and that it’s the same thing as me. I can never be underdressed or overdressed, and my outfit is never wrong! Every freshman posts their pictures on Instagram and Facebook from their first time wearing scrubs, and your “Nursing Student” label is almost like a right of passage.

One of the biggest frustrations about nursing school I have is that there is such a strong emphasis on the fact that we are not yet “real” nurses. There are a lot of rules regarding when/how we can deliver medications, what skills we can perform, and more during clinical and lab. Although these are necessary, they can be very frustrating, especially when real nurses want to do more with us and we have to tell them that we’re not allowed to yet. But at least we’re able to wear scrubs, just like the nurses on our floors, and just like real nurses across the country.

Wearing scrubs, as much as it can cramp my style at times, makes me feel a little bit more like a nurse, and makes Penn Nursing feel a little bit more like home.

About the author

I'm a bona fide chai tea latte lover hailing from Rockville, Maryland, a D.C. suburb. I am in the Nursing and Healthcare Management dual degree between the School of Nursing and the Wharton School of Business. When I'm not at clinical, in class, or preparing for clinical, I'm taking care of business as the President of Student Nurses at Penn. On the side, I'm a member of Wharton Women, the Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club, and Zeta Tau Alpha. I'm a gallery assistant at Lindsay Rapp Gallery in Old City on the weekends, and this is my happy place to escape to when I'm stressed. For fun, I like running, dancing (I still take a ballet class!), exploring Philly, baking study cookies with my roommates, and looking at pictures of cats (or if I'm lucky, actually being with one).

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