Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scrub Shaming

Here's a new one for me (h/t RKW). Activists snap photos of wayward nurses who have the gall to leave hospital grounds wearing their scrubs. Ah, the gentle "coercion" of social stigma.

The (irrational) fear is that nursing uniforms are ambulatory biohazard depositories. Patient please.

Yes, there are problems with hospital-borne infections, and contamination is a perennial threat for biological (and chemical, and radiological, but let's stick to the topic) threat exposure, but please consider your base rates. Of the 2.6 million nurses working in the US, can you recall even a single case where scrubs have been identified as an infection vector? Even one?

Unwashed hands are a far bigger threat to public health (and that's in relative terms, mind you). But you can't take a picture of microbes lurking under someone's fingernails, can you? No, but you can harass someone who just got off a 12 hour shift of keeping sick people alive.

Nursing is not made any more euvoluntary by the meddling of foolish scolds.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?