Counting the cost of healthcare professionals’ scrubs: It’s more complicated than ‘just a uniform’

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the list of fastest-growing occupations projected between 2019 and 2029, six of the top-10 occupations include: Nurse practitioners, Occupational therapy assistants, Home health and personal care aides, Physical therapist assistants, Medical and health services managers, and Physician assistants. What’s more alarming is the expected rates of growth of these occupations – anywhere between 52.4% (Nurse practitioners) to 31.3% (Physician assistants).

Why are these statistics alarming? Because of one critical element: Scrubs! Each of those top-6 occupations listed above have one thing in common: An overwhelming number of those practitioners use scrubs as standard work uniforms. And there lies the cause for alarm.

Scrubs typically consist of a top and pant bottoms. Depending on the style, material and quality of the uniform, where they are sourced from, individual components of scrubs may cost anywhere between $6 to $36. Grey’s Anatomy Scrubs, for instance, are priced under $40. As for premium brand scrubs, they are usually available at even higher price points – some approaching (or even topping!) the $50 range.

THE SCRUB DEMAND AND SUPPLY CHALLENGES

The global medical clothing market, including scrubs, was valued at approximately $63.3B in 2019. There are projections that, by 2027, that market will balloon to almost $100B, growing at a CAGR of 5.9%. The outbreak of COVID-19 has put spurs to the demand for various medical supplies, gowns, masks and scrubs. For example, Chinese mask producers are manufacturing 116 million masks a day – more than 12-times the daily quantity of masks than they were prior to the outbreak. [ … ]

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