In the US, as summer begins to fade into fall and memories of throwing on a light sweater over your nursing scrubs wane, it is time to face the inevitable: Winter is coming. That is to say, if you are presently working as a nurse in a region where Jack Frost will soon be nipping at your nose, you may want to consider how to stay warm while on shift. As a matter of fact, even if you happen to be a nurse that lives in a warmer part of the country, hospitals and healthcare facilities tend to combat bacteria growth by maintaining cold room temperatures. Basically, we are trying to say, “Baby, it’s cold outside”—and inside when working as a nurse. Luckily, we have a few hacks to survive the cold. Read on for some hot tips on keeping warm in your nurse scrubs during winter.
Living the Scrub Life
Many hospitals and medical facilities require nurses to be in uniform (i.e., scrubs) and not just to distinguish medical professionals from patients. More importantly, nurses and doctors use scrubs to protect themselves and their patients from harmful pathogens and to “help keep cross-contamination to a minimum,” according to one medical supply company. Moreover, scrubs are budget-friendly, comfortable, and the most practical dress code for medical professionals. That said, scrubs have their disadvantages—they are not meant to keep you toasty. In fact, most scrubs are made of delicate fabric that is stain-resistant and keeps the body cool. Consequently, it can be challenging working in cold temperatures, and some nurses agree that cold working environments put them in a bad mood. That said, there are plenty of ways a nurse can stay cozy in their scrubs during the winter months. The first step? Start layering.
Layer Like a Pro
Check out any nurse forum on staying warm at work, and you will quickly realize that layering is a nurse’s best friend when it’s cold out. But don’t be so eager to buy just any ordinary thermal or layering undergarment; there is actually a science behind how to layer effectively. Believe it or not, choosing just one form-fitting (not too tight) scrub undergarment can provide you with the perfect amount of warmth and mobility to stay comfortable while on shift. And while the debate continues over whether silk or cotton thermals are the best for layering, ultimately, the key is to choose an under-scrub that is sweat resistant and regulates body temperature.
Additionally, keep in mind that underwear falls under the category of layering. In other words, wearing uncomfortable underwear as a nurse can quite literally put your “panties in a bunch.” Therefore, selecting moisture-wicking and comfortable underwear is an absolute must for nurses. So, when the cold gets going, reach for a high-quality undergarment that will keep you snug in your scrubs. You can check out a few super-soft cotton blend thermals here.
Warm-Up Jacket and Fleece Pants
When temperatures drop, the cold can be challenging for nurses to handle both at work and during their commutes. Therefore, invest in a pair of fleece pants or a warm-up jacket to throw on over your scrubs while traveling to and from shifts. Outer layers can be an effective way to build and trap some heat before starting your nursing shift. Furthermore, there are a variety of excellent scrub jacket options that nurses can use to layer over their scrubs without sacrificing professionalism. So while an undergarment may be sufficient to take the chill off while on a nursing shift, you may want to consider adding a top layer to add extra warmth—especially when the temps drop outside.
Establish a Healthy Pre-Shift Routine
Thermals, jackets, and, yes, comfortable undies will all play a big role in keeping you warm when it’s cold out. However, nothing regulates body temperature better than quality sleep, exercise, and nutritious food. Therefore, if you want your internal body temperature to rise when the temperatures outside fall, you will want to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This lifestyle can include establishing a pre-shift routine that involves a sweaty workout to get your blood pumping and eating protein-packed nutrient-rich food to help sustain your energy levels at work. Thus, experiment with nourishing and replenishing heat from the inside if you’re looking to survive shivering temps on your nursing shift during wintertime.
Snug in Your Scrubs
Every nurse will tell you that working in icy-cold temperatures can be frustrating. However, effective layering and keeping your body active and nourished on the coldest days are all hacks to reducing heat loss while at work. And, hey, enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee while you are at it because all nurses deserve a little break—cheers to staying warm.
How do you stay warm in your nurse scrubs during winter or while at work? Share your hacks below!