Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Role confusion r/t gender stereotyping, pride, and an unfortunate shade of blue-green

For the first time since moving here, I had this exchange while riding the bus:

Person looking at my scrubs: "Are you a doctor?"
Me: "No, I'm a nurse."

This was a frequent occurrence in Austin. Mostly when I was wearing a lab coat, though sometimes when I was just in scrubs at a hospital or grocery store. I'm never defensive about it because, well, I'm not defensive about being a guy who's a nurse. In anything, I'm ridiculously proud of it as should be clear by the name of this here blog and the pic up there. Plus I really am a Registered Nurse now so it makes me happy inside to say so.

Turns out the person on the bus was about to start surgical tech school and wants to work at a hospital. She knew where I worked based on the color of my scrubs, which brings me to another point. In an attempt to cut down on patient confusion, many hospitals are requiring staff to wear color-coded scrubs. Nurses wear this color, respiratory therapists wear that one, housekeeping this one over here. Nurses at my hospital have to wear teal. Like this:
Teal. Ugh.

Couldn't it have been navy blue? ER nurses get to wear black. Damn their oily hides. The really bothersome thing is that my favorite style of scrub pants (made by Cherokee with cargo pockets on both legs, slit pockets, and a fly with a zipper) don't come in teal. Based the various offerings from multiple scrub makers, teal is considered a lady color. Sure they have "unisex" scrubs, but it's not the same. Not to put too fine a point on it, humans with penises need pants with flys.

Thankfully, I was clued in to a shop here in town which will custom-make scrubs with pockets and genitalia access points wherever you want. I'm going to take them the pants I like (in navy blue, sigh) and say, "Make me three pairs in teal that look just like this." Maybe they'll disassemble them and make a pattern a la Project Runway. At least no one has to wear this medical mistake:

Are there matching hose?

There's no way you could actually do the work of a hospital nurse in that thing.


  1. No, not even the work of a sexy hospital nurse.

  2. Be glad you have the teal...at my hospital here in Atlanta, we RNs have to wear white. And the only RN wearing the sexy dress is a pre-op transexual.

  3. White?! Ridiculous. As if you can keep it that (combination of all) color(s) long-term.