When my husband graduated from nursing school last year, he suddenly had four sets of “surplus” scrubs – because his school, like most nursing schools, required scrubs embroidered with the school name. In the United States, we are so accustomed to seeing medical personnel wearing this practical and hygienic uniform that it is unthinkable healthcare professionals in other countries would not have them.
And yet, in many communities where Global Links works overseas, scrubs are in short supply; Global Links staff have seen scrubs that are threadbare from years of wear and washing. An inadequate supply of this basic uniform may mean that healthcare workers can’t easily change if their scrubs become soiled – posing a risk of disease transmission, not to mention discomfort.
When I realized that there are thousands of graduating nursing students like my husband, who have no use for their old scrubs and no mechanism through which to donate them, I proposed a scrub collection. Last week, Global Links formally launched Save Your Scrubs, a national drive to collect surplus scrubs for donation to medical personnel in the underserved countries where we work.
We look forward to forming partnerships with more nursing, medical and allied health schools to offer this donation option to their students at graduation. We also look forward to working with more hospitals who change uniform standards for their employees. And, of course, we welcome all individuals to Save Your Scrubs and help meet a need while avoiding disposal of still-useful material – a virtuous circle.