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Old 06-25-2007, 06:58 PM
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Is it cheesy to wear scrubs in public?

As a newly-minted RN, I'm starting my first hospital job this week (well, this week is just orientation, computer classes, and other boring stuff; I won't actually get on the care floor until next week).

I'm just wondering what you think, if anything, about people who wear their scrubs outside the clinical setting. A couple of weeks ago, I went out for drinks with a friend who works at the same hospital, and met several of the nurses I'll be working with. All of them were in their scrubs at the bar, and in a social/public situation like that, it struck me as a teeny bit "Look at me!" Personally, if I know I'm going out socially after work, I'll bring a change of clothes, though I can't see doing that for just hitting the gym or running quick errands -- or is even that tacky?

I realize it's possible that I see people in scrubs all the time and never paid them any mind until now. I'm curious as to when and where Doper health care workers wear their scrubs, and whether non-health care workers think it's a little attention-whorish.
Old 06-25-2007, 07:06 PM
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I agree that it can seem a bit attention-whoreish but I have a few sets left over from when my husband worked in a hospital and they are damn comfortable so I am not above putting them on for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I don't know that I would do that for a bar, but since I dont' change clothes when I go to a bar after work I can't fault someone that doesn't want to go through the hassle. It's the same as the guy that wears his best buy shirt to a bar. Except he may get beaten to death by people that hate best buy.
My pet peeve is with people that insist on wearing scrubs for jobs that don't really require them, like daycare workers. I get that you're doing a good and noble job, but I don't really think you'll need the ease and comfort of a quick change set for that diaper change! If that's the case please call me to come pick up my kid!
Old 06-25-2007, 07:10 PM
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I think they're fine for errands after work, or anyplace you have to go to without changing.

If you're going out after work on the spur of the moment and you can't change into something else, fine. But if you can possibly change into civvies, you should.

We won't even talk about those who show up at the bar on their days off in scrubs. Reminds me of a med school colleague who wouldn't read a medical journal of his own accord if you locked him in a cell with a stack of them, but who always took the latest JAMA or New England Journal when he was lying out by his apartment complex pool.
Old 06-25-2007, 07:13 PM
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I don't think attention-whorish when I see folks in scrubs.

I used to live down the street from one of those medical training schools, and all the students were required to wear scrubs. So now whenever I see people in scrunbs, I think "Oh, they must be a nurse's assistant."

Wearing scrubs outside of work is no more "cheesy" than wearing any other uniform.
Old 06-25-2007, 07:22 PM
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If you must wear scrubs outside the hospital, please make sure they're clean ones. I don't need to see that stain on your scrubs and wonder what caused it.
Old 06-25-2007, 07:23 PM
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I hardly think anything of it. You do not always have time to change into regular clothes after work so I see nothing wrong with someone grabbing a drink in scrubs. White collar business workers do it all the time. Their version of dressing down involves removing their tie or jacket and that is not always the case. When I worked at camp my friends and I used to always go out to eat in our counselor shirts because we rarely left the site before 630. Same thing when I worked in an office. Long hours mean little time for changing.
Old 06-25-2007, 08:00 PM
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I wear scrubs as pajama pants. I've been known to slum to the store wearing them as well.
Old 06-25-2007, 08:12 PM
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I used to wear a set I had until someone pointed out that I looked more like an escaped person from a mental ward than a med student.

Not in public so much, after that.
Old 06-25-2007, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Licentious Ectomorph
All of them were in their scrubs at the bar, and in a social/public situation like that, it struck me as a teeny bit "Look at me!"
I had a routine lab meeting with half PhDs and half MDs. The MDs would not only wear scrubs, but would have their stethoscopes always visible on their person. As if we would forget that they were doctors if they didn't have their props available at all times. So, the PhDs started wearing pipettes and eppendorf tubes around their necks, which was no less silly, but got the point across.

I vote cheesy. It takes approximately nine seconds to change from scrubs to jeans and a t-shirt.
Old 06-25-2007, 08:31 PM
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Sorry about the hijack, but aren't there cleanliness issues with wearing scrubs outside in public? Any concerns with bringing stuff back into a sterile environment?
Old 06-25-2007, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Licentious Ectomorph
.... whether non-health care workers think it's a little attention-whorish.
In general, no, I'd assume they're not picky about clothing and such. But when I see a young guy with geled hair, stylin' sunglasses, and scrubs ... well, maybe a little.

Last edited by sugar and spice; 06-25-2007 at 08:35 PM.
Old 06-25-2007, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Jet Jaguar
Sorry about the hijack, but aren't there cleanliness issues with wearing scrubs outside in public? Any concerns with bringing stuff back into a sterile environment?
Nothing sterile about hospitals. I worry about the reverse. I never thought about it much but one time a woman showed up at a family get together in scrubs and many people had concerns about germs. There were many old people and young children present and the general concensus was that scrubs were not appropriate. Sure a person may work in an office setting and have perfectly clean scrubs but the general public won't know that. For all we know you just spent a 40 hour shift in the ebola ward.
Old 06-25-2007, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro
I used to live down the street from one of those medical training schools, and all the students were required to wear scrubs. So now whenever I see people in scrunbs, I think "Oh, they must be a nurse's assistant."
I think that image would actually be a good ad campaign for separating people that wear them out of convenience rather than out of poser image.

The TV ads would have models on a turntable in various scrubs.

"Become an Assistant to a Nurses Assistant in only 3 weeks. Courses include bedpan maintenance, regurgitation control, and hospital food service etiquette for the terminally ill. Classes start today and wages adhere strictly to the minimal wage laws in your state. Call 1-800-PUKE-YOU for details"

I have to admit though that I have some medical school and surgical training from a not quite related grad school program in behavioral neuroscience but mostly not on people.

My daughters were born via C-section and I was right there each time telling the nurses that I really could stand seeing my wife getting cut open and my children come out for me to hold. I wasn't some father that would feel faint and sit behind the curtain. They believed me and obliged each time and the whole show was something that I am glad I witnessed.

After it was all over, I felt like a true member of the surgical team and wore my scrubs for the next few hours even when I could have taken them off. When I walked around the hospital and even into the cafeteria, I could definitely feel that special feeling so I can understand the draw.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 06-25-2007 at 09:30 PM.
Old 06-25-2007, 09:33 PM
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I wear scrubs to work about 75% of the time. When I'm in an OR rotation, I get the scrubs from the machine at work--just because it's "the rules," and it's not worth arguing with the OR nurse manager about it.

Scrubs aren't sterile. Even the scrubs that the othopedic surgeon is wearing while he replaces your hip aren't sterile. But the gown that goes over the scrubs and his gloves are.

Also, if we're working in the Ebola Ward, we're probably wearing a protective gown, gloves, shoe coverings and a mask that we'll discard upon leaving.

I know, I know...we'd probably really have on one of those hooded respirators in a real Ebola Ward. I'm just sayin'....

I'm certainly not seeking any attention by wearing scrubs. I can't imagine that any of the doctors, nurses or other techs I work with are, either.
Old 06-25-2007, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Fiveyearlurker
...

I vote cheesy. It takes approximately nine seconds to change from scrubs to jeans and a t-shirt.
Maybe you can but I can't.

Sometimes I run errands on my lunch hour, I'm not going to waste several minutes of my lunch hour changing back and forth. I often stop at the store on my way home from work. I don't always plan ahead and bring clothes to change into, so most of the time I wear my scrubs. If I had plans in advance to go out socially after work then I'd bring a change of clothes with me, if it was a spur of the moment thing I'd either go in my scrubs or more likely swing by my house and change clothes since I don't live that far from work.

Is it cheesy? I think it depends on the context, but most of the time I'd say no. When I see people in scrubs it's at a store I don't think that's a big deal. I probably wouldn't think much of it in a fast food place, diner or even a bar. If it were a nice restaurant then I'd think the people should have taken a few minutes to change but even then it could have been a spur of the moment thing.

By the way, I think most people who wear scrubs whether they work with animals or people would not go out in public if they had something disgusting and potentially contagious on them.
Old 06-25-2007, 09:53 PM
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So, I liken others wearing scrubs to me wearing my field clothes. I have a set of clothing that pretty much says "scientist on safari" that I wear when we go out to do experiments in the field. They have the same potential to get dirty as scrubs do, albeit not with blood. They have the same casual look and feel. They are intended to be used in a certain situation and that situation only.

Where should and/or do I wear these clothes? To the convenience store - sure! To Target - maybe. To a restaurant or bar - never! Yuck! Think how out of place I would look with my floppy hat, hiking boots, and cargo pants.

Why wouldn't someone in scrubs look just as out of place? Only reason I can think is that scrubs are associated with surgeons, and surgeons are associated with money and status. Me, though, I just associate surgeons with blood, and that thought would be enough to put me off my dinner.
Old 06-25-2007, 10:42 PM
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The only situation I've encountered in which the scrubs themselves are sterile was in my labor & delivery clinical rotation in school. The unit provided sterile scrubs, which students and employees alike had to change into upon arrival and take off before leaving.

I certainly wouldn't go out with something visibly nasty on my scrubs, and if it were something hazardous, I would change them anyway -- one of the first things they told us in school was to keep a spare set handy.
Old 06-26-2007, 12:00 AM
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It was touched on up-thread, but so many different people are wearing scrubs these days, for me at least, they have lost the panache of "I just stepped out of the ER long enough to do X."

I think when household maids (Like Merry Maids, etc) are wearing scrubs, the era of them being "elite" is over. We have two customers that *always* wear scrub shirts, don't know what either of them do besides poker. For the record, there are 2 doctors in my husbands family and I have never seen either of them in scrubs. One is an orthopedic surgeon and the other an obstetrician. So it isn't like neither of them ever have to wear them.
Old 06-26-2007, 12:31 AM
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As a Microbiologist, I feel that wearing scrubs outside of the hospital is rude. But I tend to overthink about how many microbes are actually on items. I'm sure they're fairly clean, but there's a chance you came across some MRSA, and you may wipe against a counter at the grocery store on the way home, and someone else could touch it. Ok, the odds of this are slim (i.e. poor survivability by microbes on those surfaces, and a slim chance that a healthy person would contract a disease), but still more probable than if you hadn't worn the scrubs out of the hospital in the first place.
Old 06-26-2007, 01:04 AM
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I am going to have to check what happens here in Australia. As far as I can recall I have never seen anyone out in public in scrubs. There are 4 nurses living in the units next to mine and formerly two surgeons lived here. I never saw any in scrubs. When I was nursing many years ago scrubs weren't part of, or a substitute for, a uniform. You changed into them as needed and got out of them when finished. You chucked them in the appropriate laundry bags and they were sterilized and laundered. No-one owned scrubs to take home.
Old 06-26-2007, 02:32 AM
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Eh, my general rule of thumb for any style of dress is that it's not cheesy if you have a legitimate excuse to be wearing them (for example, just coming from work. You're not obligated to bring a change of clothes). It would however be cheesy if you put them on purposely to go out somewhere even though you were coming from home and had no real reason to be wearing them.
Old 06-26-2007, 07:36 AM
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It's like wearing an Applebee's uniform on the street, you just look foolish.
Old 06-26-2007, 08:32 AM
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I'm still in nursing school. I wear my scrubs for clinicals and for nursing lab practice. If I have to go to Walmart or some place similar after school, I'll go in the scrubs. I don't wear them out to eat or to a bar and I don't wear them on my days off.

I do know that the first few weeks I wore my official school scrubs to nursing lab class, I felt like an incredible poseur. Maybe by the time I graduate, I'll be totally at ease.
Old 06-26-2007, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiveyearlurker
I had a routine lab meeting with half PhDs and half MDs. The MDs would not only wear scrubs, but would have their stethoscopes always visible on their person. As if we would forget that they were doctors if they didn't have their props available at all times. So, the PhDs started wearing pipettes and eppendorf tubes around their necks, which was no less silly, but got the point across.

I vote cheesy. It takes approximately nine seconds to change from scrubs to jeans and a t-shirt.
I've worked with both MD's & PhD's. The MD's don scrubs when they're heading to the OR. Afterwards, they get back into shirts & slacks (or skirts)--under The Ceremonial White Coat. When the PhD's leave the lab, they dress similarly. Embroidered names & departments, plus ID badges, identify everybody's places in the pecking order.

Fellows on call might wear scrubs over the weekend.
Old 06-26-2007, 11:44 AM
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Just to bend the question a bit, how about "fashion" scrubs? Last week, I saw a guy on the train wearing a black scrub top over black jeans.

I've never seen black in any clinical setting. Plenty of the traditional green and blue, pink for the OB-GYN wards and maroon seems popular with the medical assistant school near my office, but never black.

Does this guy work in the morgue, or does he just like loose, comfy shirts?
Old 06-26-2007, 11:53 AM
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I live right around the corner from a hospital, so seeing people walking around in scrubs is part of my everyday experience. Many of the nurses at the hospital seem to live in the neighborhood just east of the hospital, and i often see folks walking down our back alley in scrubs. It never even occurred to me that there was anything unusual or "showing off" about it.

"Look at me! I'm an overworked, under-appreciated and possibly underpaid health worker. Don't you all want to be just like me?"

Sure, doctors who walk around town with stethoscopes dangling seem a bit silly, but i'm sure they also get so used to carrying the things that they often forget they have them. Still not a big deal, in my opinion.
Old 06-26-2007, 11:56 AM
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Since the point of scrubs is cleanliness, and public areas are not known for that, if I see scrubs out in the open I assume the hospitals are not as clean as they once were.
Although I must admit I'm not upset seeing nurses uniforms.
Old 06-26-2007, 12:01 PM
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There was a fad for wearing scrubs when I was in high school. That was kind of cheesy.
Old 06-26-2007, 12:12 PM
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I don't think it's inappropriate to wear scrubs to a bar or on errands. I wouldn't, because they're not very flattering, but that's just my vanity talking.
Old 06-26-2007, 12:14 PM
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I don't see a problem with it at all. Who friggin' cares?
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:23 PM
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Consider my mind blown. If someone is running errands after work or on lunch break, it seems silly to have to change into a new outfit. But going to a bar in scrubs? How long does it take to change into a regular outfit?

I wouldn't think of it as weird as much as bizarre.

My wife works at a medical school, and I'm often in the Longwood area of Boston where there are about 12 hospitals. I rarely see people wearing scrubs outside of hospitals, to the point that when I see someone wearing them, I take notice.

To each his/her own, but I find it a little weird. Attention whorish? I don't know. I don't assume that a person wearing scrubs is a MD or an RN. They could be doing any number of jobs in a hospital. Furthermore, there's nothing inherently awe-inspiring about seeing someone in scrubs to me. It's what you wear at work, like painter's overalls, or smocks in a tech fab. (I used to work in the fab at Motorola, and nobody ever wore smocks outside of the fab... if you did, you would be ridiculed mercilessly.)

Maybe if there's a medical-type bar near a hospital goes it's no big deal, but if people are doing a double take that's probably a clue that you might want to wear the usual casual clothing next time.
Old 06-26-2007, 12:26 PM
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Naa, I don't see it as attention whorish. But then, my first thought would be "dental hygenist".
Old 06-26-2007, 01:17 PM
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I used to wear scrubs cause they are comfortable and if you get "something" on them, you can throw them away. If they are clean, wear them. If they are dirty, toss em.

I am not so offended by scrubs as I am by watching the docs who wear the same dirty lab coat everywhere. I know they get the coats cleaned from time to time, but here it is..

one wears gloves, coats etc as barrier protection. While you are working, wear the gloves, coat, etc to protect you from the nasties. When you are done, take the gloves, coat, etc off before walking around in the general population.
Old 06-26-2007, 10:11 PM
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I don't think it's "cheesy" to be seen in scrubs outside a working environment, but due to my training I do think of it as dirty. I work in a highly biosecure environment wherein we change to scrubs in the facility and change out when we go. Our scrubs never leave the facility under dire warnings of the potential of spreading any number of terrible things to which we were routinely environmentally exposed.
Even in a hospital or other setting, I think of scrubs as being either cleaner than street clothes or dirtier, depending on your medical role, and in neither case are they appropriate to be wearing in a public, "civilian" environment where you are eating, drinking, or smoking.
I realize that that's pretty much completely contrary to the way that scrubs are worn and viewed now, and that everybody and their dog who has an excuse wears them, but there you are. I can't get away from the idea that the schmuck sitting around the bar in those scrubs has either just come from operating on an ebola-infected patient, or will be going into operate, shortly, and if neither of those things are true, then by extension I imagine they're dog groomers or day care workers or some other poseur profession who picked up wearing scrubs because they feel elite wearing scrubs . I still have a mental view of scrubs as functional, working clothing that's more than likely going to end up covered in poo, barf, or blood by the end of the day anyway. That's what scrubs are for. Only, not so much today. Now they're fashion.
I did have a "clean" job working in a clinic where we were required to wear scrubs and I would sometimes stop at the grocery store or library or whatever on my way home, and I always felt self-conscious about it. Don't worry! These scrubs are clean!

Last edited by NajaNivea; 06-26-2007 at 10:13 PM.
Old 06-27-2007, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Sitnam
It's like wearing an Applebee's uniform on the street, you just look foolish.
I just got back from dinner at Applebee's and I'm wearing red scrubpants and a Monster's Inc. turquoise/yellow/purple scrubtop. I had a Mag patient, a guarded prisoner and a fresh total hyster for 12.5 hours with 14 minutes for lunch. I needed a meal that wasn't fast food and no one gave me a second glance. I'm years beyond feeling foolish---I know what I am; an overworked but well-paid RN!
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:40 AM
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As the grandsone of a cheesemaker, I have to ask: do you hate cheese? Or do you love cheese?
Old 06-27-2007, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Walloon
As the grandsone of a cheesemaker, I have to ask: do you hate cheese? Or do you love cheese?

But I'm not the grandson of a cheesemaker. So does your question apply to me? Or did you dangle your participle?
Old 06-27-2007, 01:55 AM
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There is no participle in my question. And the pronoun "I" immediately follows "As the grandson of a cheesemaker."
Old 06-27-2007, 07:29 AM
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Yes, actually, Walloon used that construction correctly, which few people do.

Anyway, the point of scrubs is not really cleanliness, but utility and comfort. Of course they should be clean, at least to start out, but keeping them that way isn't always an option. But even so, it's not like setting foot outside the hospital in them will unleash the plague upon the world. That people might perceive someone wearing scrubs as contaminated didn't occur to me; I was more concerned about being perceived as a poser. Nursing might not be glamorous, but there are people who find scrubs sexy on par with military or firefighters' uniforms.

The length of time it takes to change clothes isn't the issue so much as the hassle of lugging a duffel bag with a whole other outfit, including shoes, into work, storing it someplace, finding a place to change, etc. Like I said, I would certainly do that for a social gathering, but for errands -- screw it.

Cub Mistress, be grateful they let you wear scrubs to clinical and the lab. When I was in school, we had to wear these Og-awful uniforms that I swear were designed to embarass us. I also had to walk to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways.
Old 06-27-2007, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Licentious Ectomorph
As a newly-minted RN, I'm starting my first hospital job this week (well, this week is just orientation, computer classes, and other boring stuff; I won't actually get on the care floor until next week).
*snip*
Something I forgot to say earlier: Congratulations, Licentious Ectomorph, and best of luck in your career. Was yours a BSN program? How was the N-CLEX?
Old 06-27-2007, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by askeptic
But I'm not the grandson of a cheesemaker. So does your question apply to me? Or did you dangle your participle?
PLEASE BY ALL THAT IS HOLY, TELL ME YOU ARE KIDDING!!!!! People get this wrong 99 times out of 100 and someone gets it right and you think it's a dangling participle? Has the error ingrained us to read and comprehend this formation backwards now??

::curls into fetal position and sobs tearlessly
Old 06-27-2007, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Cub Mistress
Something I forgot to say earlier: Congratulations, Licentious Ectomorph, and best of luck in your career. Was yours a BSN program? How was the N-CLEX?
Thanks! Mine was an ADN program. Not to scare you, but the NCLEX is a whole lotta no fun. The bad news is that I and all of my friends who have taken it walked out 100% SURE we had failed; the good news is we all passed. So when you're taking it and you feel like the biggest idiot ever, take a deep breath, find your happy place, and have faith in yourself -- you know what you're doing.

If you're interested in my experiences in nursing school, I talked about it quite a bit in my blog (though it only goes back to last August). There's also a fair bit of personal stuff that might be TMI depending on your sensibilities, but if you're a cool chick with an open mind, feel free to peruse.
Old 06-27-2007, 06:03 PM
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I'm in an ADN program, too. Two semesters to go, whoo hoo! I've bookmarked your blog and will check it out soon. Thanks for the link.

I keep telling myself to worry about the N-CLEX after I finish worrying about graduating. My program has had 100% pass rates for the N-CLEX in the last few years and the faculty is tough on us to keep that rate up.

Ok, hijack over. Back to the ethics of wearing scrubs in public.
Old 06-27-2007, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Licentious Ectomorph
But even so, it's not like setting foot outside the hospital in them will unleash the plague upon the world. That people might perceive someone wearing scrubs as contaminated didn't occur to me;
And even if they do, who cares?
Old 06-27-2007, 07:30 PM
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This begs the question,

Is it scrubby to wear cheese in public?
Old 06-27-2007, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walloon
As the grandsone of a cheesemaker, I have to ask: do you hate cheese? Or do you love cheese?
I know little about grammar. The above sounds right to me - how do people mess it up? From gigi's post I'm thinking someone would write "I have to ask, as the grandson of a cheesemaker: do you hate cheese? Or do you love cheese?" but that would mean the person you're asking about cheese is the grandson of a cheesemaker. Do I have that right? And that Walloon's way is correct if he is the grandson?
Old 06-27-2007, 08:11 PM
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No.

"I" is the subject of the sentence; "as the grandson of a cheesemaker" refers to the subject, "I."

Rearrange it like this and there can be no mistaking: "I, as the grandson of a cheesemaker, have to ask..."

Or substitute "Because I am" for "as": "Because I am the grandson of a cheesemaker, I have to ask."

In order for the phrase to refer to the person being asked, it would have to be, "I have to ask: do you, as the grandson of a cheesemaker, love cheese?"

Last edited by Licentious Ectomorph; 06-27-2007 at 08:12 PM.
Old 06-27-2007, 08:15 PM
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I just realized this may be my only fetish...but women look damn hot in scrubs...
Old 06-27-2007, 10:27 PM
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I don't mind it. 'Course, I know what you have to go through to become an RN (congratulations, by the way -- you now have the right to be worked like a rented mule, underpaid for life and disrespected by doctors, at least half of whom graduated in the bottom half of their classes. But you will appear to people like me to be a guardian angel forever and ever.)

Anyway, I don't see it as any different from anyone else who wears distinctive work clothes out to have a beer after work. I see people in scrubs all the time, from RNs to dental hygenists to veterinary assistants. They stop at Wal-Mart after work, pick up a latte during a morning java run, attend parent-teacher conferences. If anybody is put off by it, screw 'em -- ask them how they feel about it when the pain comes pounding back like a freight train at three in the morning and you walk in with your magical syringe! They'll be pretty damn glad to see those scrubs then, I'll wager.
Old 06-27-2007, 11:48 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 10,877
Quote:
Originally Posted by Licentious Ectomorph
If you're interested in my experiences in nursing school, I talked about it quite a bit in my blog (though it only goes back to last August). There's also a fair bit of personal stuff that might be TMI depending on your sensibilities, but if you're a cool chick with an open mind, feel free to peruse.
I've added you as a LJ Friend, if that's ok.
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