Evolution of Nursing Uniform: From Past to Present

Nursing uniforms now called as scrubs have come a long way since the advent of it. They've evolved from the good old boring and boxy scrubs to the stylish, fashionable, and practical scrubs. But do you know about the history of nursing uniforms?  

As every good thing evolves, so has your nursing uniform. Your nursing uniforms have evolved over the last two centuries making them the most evolved, improved clothing ever.  

Let’s start with the evolution of nursing uniforms from past to present:


The year was 1854, when the Crimean War caused many casualties. Many soldiers were wounded, at that time, Florence Nightingale started the practice of modern nursing in military hospitals.  

She along with her students did a major revamp of the sanitary conditions in the military hospitals. It was one of her students who designed the first nursing uniforms.  

During that time there were no professional nurses, every woman was considered to be a nurse, and they practiced nursing.  

Florence popularized the profession of nursing during the Crimean War and brought it to people’s attention. 

The uniform Florence Nightingale’s student designed was an apron tied to her waist, and from that point onwards the uniform of nurses has been evolving ever since.  

Those days there was only the uniform to protect them. Nurses neither wore masks nor gloves, only a single piece of clothing extending to the feet along with an apron over it.  

These uniforms were meant to protect the nurses from infection.  

Then, major shifts started to take place in the later years.  


In 1893 people were still wearing the nursing uniforms designed by Florence Nightingale’s students. But along with the nursing uniforms, something else was introduced.  

During that time no strict measures were taken around the nursing uniform, wearing an apron over the uniform was a necessary rule to follow, but during that time, the nursing cap was introduced. Also known as scrub caps, nursing caps got a lot trendier in those years.  

Nursing caps acted as headgear for these nurses, and it made them look good. Not only did it covered and protected their hair, but it was also a good add-on for professional styling.  

The major changes:  

During these years nothing major happened. Nurses wore the uniforms designed by Florence Nightingale students, with just a tweak here and there.  

The major changes happened during World War Two. The nurses were introduced to a uniform with a smaller hemline that allows for ease of movement. It covered their entire body and also protected them from infection and many viruses.  

Then with time, the nursing uniforms kept changing, and now they’ve evolved so much, that we call them scrubs.  

It comes as a top and a bottom and looks physically appealing to the wearer. Scrubs also have antibacterial, moisture-wicking properties that make them safer than the good old nursing uniform.  

That was the history of your nursing uniforms. They’ve evolved, and so does everyone and everything else.  

If you’re on the lookout for hospital uniform & nurse uniforms aka scrubs then look no further than Knya. Knya is the ultimate destination for medical apparel. Here you can buy under scrubs and scrubs, lab coat aprons, at the best prices.  


What were the earliest nursing uniforms like?

The first nursing uniforms were designed by Florence Nightingale students. She was the person who popularized nursing. Nursing as a profession got a lot of eyes after the Crimean War. The earliest nursing uniform was a long dress, with a frilly cap worn above the head with an apron worn over the long dress.

What's the significance of modern nursing uniform designs?

The significance of modern nursing uniform design can't be ignored. Modern nursing uniforms are designed for comfort, to add flexibility, are durable and to look physically appealing.