Purpose: To determine the presence of pathogens on scrub attire that had been either laundered at home or in the hospital.
Study Design and Methods: Quasi-experimental research design with a convenience sample. The left front shoulders of home-laundered scrubs (n = 30) and hospital-laundered scrubs (n = 20) were cultured during the first 2 hours of a single workday. For the home-laundered scrubs, data were collected concerning home washing procedures, water temperature, pets in the home, and donning procedures.
Results: No pathogenic growth was found on either the hospital- or home-laundered scrubs. In addition, no relationships were found between home washing procedures, water temperature, pets in the home, and donning procedures.
Clinical Implications: The results of this pilot study suggested that scrubs laundered both at home and in the hospital were free of pathogens, and that differing home washing procedures made no difference. Further investigation is necessary with larger numbers of subjects.
It's a debate in many institutions: should nurses and others launder their own scrubs? Should only hospital-laundered scrubs be worn? Read this interesting take on the subject.
Priscilla Jurkovich is Educator for Surgery and Service Coordinator for Presurgery Testing, Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, CO. She can be reached at c/o Boulder Community Hospital, 1100 Balsam, P.O. Box 9019, Boulder, CO 80304 (firstname.lastname@example.org).