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ACS Issues New Guidelines on OR Attire

The dress code addresses how to properly wear scrubs, masks, hats and gowns.

Published: August 9, 2016

HEAD TO TOE PPEs should promote professionalism and ensure patient safety.

What's "in" for this year's fashion- and safety-conscious surgeon? Appropriate attire based on professionalism, common sense, decorum and available evidence, says the American College of Surgeons, which last week issued a set of surgical attire guidelines designed to establish and maintain a "patient-physician rapport based on trust and respect."

OR scrubs are still very in, as long as they're not out — worn outside the hospital perimeter, that is. And soiled scrubs or hats should always be changed after surgical procedures, before any conversations with family members take place.

Additionally, scrubs worn outside the OR area should be covered with a clean lab coat or other appropriate cover-up, masks should never be allowed to dangle and "appropriate professional attire" — not scrubs — is encouraged when dealing with patients outside the OR.

Mouths, noses and hair should continue to be covered during invasive procedures, but it's OK to leave ears, a small amount of hair on the nape of the neck or modest sideburns uncovered, since no evidence suggests that doing so is likely to contribute to infections, says the ACS.

Meanwhile, skullcaps, which the ACS calls "symbolic of the surgical profession," should cover "close to the totality of hair," and should be cleaned and changed daily.

Jim Burger

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