When working 12-hour shifts and saving lives is all part of your normal routine, you don't have time to worry about uncomfortable clothes at work. That's something medical professionals know all too well, and they're understandably partial when it comes to the scrubs and accessories they wear while they're on the job.
The Shop TODAY team is always eager to hear about comfy clothing solutions, so we got a few healthcare workers to reveal the items that make their work days easier and comfier. From scrubs that double as sweats to shoes that make your feet feel like they're on cloud nine, here are 14 of the products medical professionals can't get enough of.
Scrub tops and pants
Jan Sanko, an emergency room nurse in Colorado, has worn many different types of scrubs in her 35 years as a nurse, and she's found that a stretchy fabric is key to staying comfy. This affordable pair from Med Couture comes in a variety of colors and tops Sanko's list.
"They have some spandex and multiple pockets and a drawstring waist that looks flattering," she said.
Staying comfy and looking cute don't have to be mutually exclusive and these days, there are plenty of scrub tops that combine fashion and function. Abbey Miller, a registered nurse in Massachusetts, told Shop TODAY she swears by this shirt from the Grey's Anatomy scrub collection.
"A lot of scrub tops are very boxy, but I love how these tops cinch at the waist and have a flattering shape. The buttons on the side/back are an added bonus!" she said.
Pediatric emergency department nurse Halee Sanko said she's generally picky when it comes to her scrubs and gravitates towards styles with plenty of pockets.
"I prefer pockets on the side of the legs/cargo pockets and stretchy pants with a drawstring waistband. These ones from CRZ look and feel like scrubs," she explained.
No two scrub tops are created alike and Tara Shouldis, a pediatric emergency room nurse on Long Island, New York, is partial to Cherokee shirts when she's working.
"They have fun and colorful designs that are both comfortable and cute when working with pediatric patients," she raved.
Ale Speakman D.O., a PGY-3 pediatric resident, was quick to name Figs scrubs as the one item of work clothing she simply can't live without.
"They are so soft, breathable and most importantly stretchy, unlike sterile surgical scrubs. They also wash up perfect every single time! Not to mention the full spectrum of color choices," she told us.
Scrubs come in all kinds of different styles and they can often double as workout wear. Nicole Sala, a physician assistant, in New York City, digs these ones from Mandala and says they're the perfect mix of comfort, style and affordability.
"They have multiple pockets for all of my necessary belongings during the work day. They're also extremely comfortable, flattering and functional for a physician assistant who's on-the-go," she revealed.
Nurse jackets and accessories
Hospitals can get pretty cold sometimes, and Emily Davan, an oncology nurse in New York City, counts a moisture-wicking jacket among her work wardrobe essentials.
"I’ve worn a thick fleece in the middle of an emergency in the hospital before and regretted it. Having something lightweight is so important," she explained, adding that she loves this style from Lululemon.
Speakman also recognizes the power of a solid cover-up for those long shifts and said that many medical residents live in Patagonia fleece jackets.
"They’re warm, soft and have loads of pockets to store pens, alcohol swabs, tongue depressors and a protein bar. The ability to personalize them makes them even more fun," she said.
Nurses are constantly on-the-go, so they don't have time to worry about maintaining a fabulous mane throughout their shift. That's where headbands come in handy! Sanko digs this brand's fun patterns, especially since they're a fun conversation starter while working with kids.
"I almost always wear a headband to keep my hair up out of my face and they’re always so fun!" she said.
Much like we've all learned over the past year, face masks don't have to be boring. A fun design can be a total conversation starter and can help you feel a tad festive, too! Hali Duus, an oncology nurse based in New York City, appreciates the fact that these masks are adjustable and never hurt her ears.
"They come in a four-pack with lots of cute prints and also include a bag to store them in. Another plus is that they tie behind your neck, so you never lose track of them when you remove your mask outside," she told us.
When you're working a long shift, it's important to come prepared and Davan adores this durable bag that can fit all sorts of essentials, like snacks, a phone charger and more.
"It’s the perfect bag to fit in my locker at work," she said. "The backpack is made out of neoprene, the the same material as a wetsuit, so it’s super sturdy and waterproof. The pockets inside and outside the bag are so helpful for organizing things such as my MetroCard and extra alcohol swabs I take home from the hospital by accident — and the shoe bag is really nice!"
When she’s faced with a 12-hour shift, Miller feels confident knowing that she’ll stay cozy in these comfy kicks.
“I would recommend these to anyone and have already bought two pairs! A lot of my co-workers wear them, too,” she said.
Long shifts don't necessarily have to result in tired tootsies! Speakman told us this running shoe changed her life at work, and for good reason.
"On a 24-hour shift when you’re calling consults, running to the emergency department for an admission or checking on a sick patient, you cannot afford to have tired or sore feet," she said. "These shoes are lightweight, extremely supportive and are the panacea for tired feet! The ability to make them slip on or lace up is a double plus, too," she said.
When Davan started her career as a nurse, she never thought she would be a clog convert. But after a few years of searching for the perfect work shoe, she now swears by the style.
"They are so supportive and easy to clean. And the best part is that at the end of my shift, my feet and legs aren’t achy!" she said while gushing about Dansko's comfy styles.
For more stories like this, check out:
- Nurses swear by these comfortable shoes and sneakers — here’s why
- These Old Navy joggers might be the comfiest loungewear I own
- 15 ‘workleisure’ options for anyone that doesn’t want to wear real pants again