Baby, it’s cold outside! My least favorite part of cold and flu season is not the increased patient volume in the emergency department. Rather, it’s the walk from my car to the front door of the hospital. Wearing thin scrubs leaves my legs freezing cold, and drafty indoor hospital temperatures have my fingers so icy I can barely tap out a patient’s chart on my keyboard. Dressing for cold weather as a nurse practitioner can certainly be challenging. How do you wear scrubs when it’s freezing outside?

1. Embrace Compression Socks

Wearing wool socks may work for a ski day, but thermal footwear options will likely leave your tootsies sweating up a storm at work. So, opt for compression socks (these picks are trendier than most). Longer stocking lengths provide an added layer of protection for your lower legs making the drive in to work more tolerable. Not to mention, compression stockings stave off that dreaded ankle swelling and arch aching post 12-hour shift. 

2. Know Your Long Underwear

If you do opt for a full length additional layer under your scrubs, get to know fabrics before you buy. Synthetic fabric blends are comfortable, thin, and work well for layering. Better yet, they are wrinkle resistant for easy laundering post shift. Merino wool is a warmer option for the chronically cold nurse practitioner. The fabric also contains natural antimicrobial properties. Opt for lightweight or ultra lightweight cuts to prevent pit stains mid shift

3. Disguise Your Jacket

Layering outside of scrubs is ideal as this allows for easy removal of unnecessary layers. Wearing a fleece jacket, or vest, however, diminishes your professional appearance. Opt for an outer layer that is the same color as your scrubs to maximize the professionalism of your look. Consider a lightweight jacket that can be worn undetected under your lab coat

4. Be Prepared for a Change-Up

Dressing for a wintertime commute paired with a day spent indoors can create a wardrobe conundrum. Being prepared is your best bet for comfort. You may need to switch from snow boots to clogs once you arrive at work, for example. Pack your work bag accordingly. 

5. The Warm Blanket

On days where you find you’ve totally misjudged your winter wardrobe, grab a blanket from the warmer at the nurse’s station. We’ve all been there before!

How do you winterize your scrubs?


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