06 Nov The best thing about medical scrubs was the way it changed my life
Growing up, I was always considered an introvert. I wasn’t one to volunteer for a new project, go out and meet new people, or do much of anything that involved other people. It wasn’t that I was incapable of the activities, or that I didn’t care. It was really that I didn’t feel confident around other people.
Even when I enrolled in nursing school, I was pretty much the same. As much as I loved the concept of nursing, I was still afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate to the patients very well. However, I was an adult by then. I knew I couldn’t let my insecurities rule my life. Luckily, I felt relieved when I stepped into my first pair of scrubs during nursing school.
When I put on the scrubs and walked to my full-length mirror, I felt something that was rare for me. In the mirror was a strong man – no, a strong medical professional. I felt proud of myself. I was empowered.
That’s not to say that all my problems were solved the moment put my scrubs on. That would have been nice, but it’s not what happened. In reality, it was a gradual process. I started by answering questions in class if I was sure of the answer and volunteering for role plays in class if I could be the patient. That moved to speaking up at clinicals and become more effective with patients.
By the time I was a licensed nurse, I no longer had butterflies in my stomach because I had to talk to a doctor or a mean patient. I realized that I knew what I was talking about, and if I didn’t know the answer, I would find out. If someone asked a question, that means they were looking for my professional opinion, and I was bound to give it to them. And as I did, my nervousness declined.
It took a little longer for this newfound courage to spill over into my personal life. When I first looked in the mirror at home without my scrubs, I didn’t see that same strong man. However, slowly but surely, my courage started to seep over into other areas of my life. It was so gradual that I didn’t even notice it until other people started pointing it out.
Today, I am a member of my church choir, and I work out a couple of days a week with a co-worker. Most importantly, I’ve become a better nurse. It’s now second-nature for me to be a quick-thinker, greeting patients with genuine enthusiasm and proactively giving an assessment of my patients to the doctor.
When I first put on scrubs, my life started to change for the better. I could never have predicted how a change of my clothing would alter my perception of myself and my abilities. The scrubs give me courage and confidence. They remind me and others that I am a trained nurse professional who adds value and meaning to the lives of other people every single day.
Today, I am a Nurse Manager for a large hospital system in Connecticut, overseeing hundreds of nurses in one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Some Nurse Managers wear suits, and others where a lab coat over their suits. However, in my case, I still wear scrubs to work. At the end of the day, I’m a nurse before anything. Wearing my scrubs reminds me of how important my team members are, and they remind my team members that I’m always ready to spring into action when I’m needed on the floor.