A brief history of medical uniforms: From ancient history to the covid-19 time

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Medical Uniforms date back from medieval times. Nursing uniforms were based on nuns clothes whereas doctors used the famous “plague costumes” and black “frock” coats from about 15th to early 19th century. In latter half 19th century medical uniforms started to change. Nursing uniforms gradually lost their similarities to religious outfits. Doctors started to use white clothing. With great emphasis on hygiene and sanitation, the idea of personal protective equipment (PPE) started to evolve with William Stewart Halsted introducing the use of rubber gloves in 1889. In the 1960s-1970s it became more usual to wear green and blue `scrubs in order to look for a greater contrast in clothing with the all-white hospital environment. In contemporary times, some specialties even stopped using specific uniforms, while others still use them. At the same time, PPE became more and more important, up to nowadays “plague costume” in the combat of the COVID-19 epidemics.




O’donnell, V. R., Chinelatto, L. A., Rodrigues, C., & Hojaij, F. C. (2020). A brief history of medical uniforms: From ancient history to the covid-19 time. Revista Do Colegio Brasileiro de Cirurgioes, 47(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1590/0100-6991e-20202597

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