Wearing Scrubs Outside Of The Clinic? A Marketer’s Perspective

It’s a debate almost as old as scrubs themselves: should scrubs be worn outside of the clinic? My take: perception is everything so, hell no!

Marketing is essentially the art of persuasion. It is the art of influencing the perceptions of others so that they buy our product, recommend our practice, take the steps we want them to in order to achieve our end goal. You’re persuading your customers that your product is the best, your cars are cooler, or in the case of medical practices (regardless of specialty) you’re attempting to persuade patients that you are professional physicians with high standards and that you deserve a reputation befitting the high quality of patient care you deliver.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter if not changing into your civilian clothing is more efficient when you want to run out and grab that well-deserved bite to eat during a busy clinic schedule. It doesn’t matter if some studies claim that wearing scrubs outside the clinic is not any less hygienic. What really matters is the perception that patients have, and that perception is that clothes worn in the clinic should be clinical, i.e. clean.

I have spent years working directly with medical practices. I know the reality behind the scenes, yet even I cringe a little when I see staff in scrubs huddled in a booth across from me at the Mexican restaurant, getting off public transit, or trudging out of the gas station with their much-needed energy drinks.

If I cringe regardless of my “inside knowledge,” imagine what less-informed patients are thinking and what that is doing to your overall reputation as a practice.

While I’m at it, this same advice applies to beauty salons and any other business where staff wears scrubs. The logo on your scrubs isn’t free advertising: it’s letting those who perceive clean scrubs as part of their care or treatment know exactly where not to go.

I’ll end where I started: when it comes to selling, perception is everything.