Although I am not a travel nurse, I have traveled a lot over the past few years- living in Europe last year and traveling around the globe from there. The one thing I learned throughout my travels was how to pack light. I was always tempted to stuff every bit of clothing I owned into a suitcase, always telling myself “just in case”. However, as I spent more time dragging my luggage through airports and loading and unloading taxis, I realized I maybe didn’t need 18 different outfits every time I left for the weekend. Lugging a half-ton roller bag down the cobblestone streets of Paris really makes a girl reconsider her clothing choices!
My packing challenges, however, pale in comparison to the challenge travel nurses face when moving to a new job. Not only do you have to decide which pair of heels goes with which Friday night dress or which top is cutest for a Saturday brunch, you also have to pack an entirely separate wardrobe of scrubs. Suddenly my 18 outfits become your 36! After coming to this realization, I began to think of ways that nurses could minimize the number of scrubs they own while still maintaining style and personality. Here’s what I decided:
Nothing is the New Black: Black matches everything. It’s the way the world works. Embrace it. Invest in a pair of black scrub pants and you have as many outfits as you have tops! Buying both colored tops and bottoms limits your possibilities for matching and forces you to pack more. By keeping bottoms simple and neutral you have just as many outfits with fewer items in your bags! Of course, gray, khaki, or white work just as well. Black just hides stains better! Neutrals also don’t draw any attention so if you can wear them more often than colored scrubs and no one will notice…hopefully.
Try Some Tees: As we trade in our swimsuits and sunscreen for pumpkin spice lattes and apple crisp, we also get to enjoy cozy fall clothing. One of the easiest ways to add variety to a scrub wardrobe is long sleeve tees to go under your regular scrubs tops. Not only do they add a splash of color and a different look to any top you own, but they also keep you warm on those chilly, fall afternoons. Best of all, they tend to be more form fitting and made of thinner fabric than regular scrubs tops, which means less room taken up in your suitcase!
Be Picky About Prints: Prints are one of the best parts about scrubs. They’re cute and colorful and full of personality and I’m certainly not going to tell you not to wear them. However, prints are less flexible than plain colors! When you do choose to buy prints, go for prints with LOTS of colors. The more colors in the print, the more colors the print matches. If you can mix and match the color of pants you wear with it or the tee you wear under it, the print becomes more versatile and you won’t have to pack as many! Also consider a print warm-up jacket or cardigan that you can wear with numerous outfits.
The key to packing scrubs is to make sure you can pair and re-pair with them with other items in your wardrobe. Not to say that you should always stick with the same color scheme- just be aware of how each item fits in with the rest. If you can only think of one thing it would match, it may not be the best use of your space!