Dressed to Care

Breaking through hospital uniformity

Scrubs help create a clean and safe environment for patients. However, scrubs often show off the personality and flair of the professionals who wear them, giving these caregivers a unique connection with their patients.

Sounds of the hospital:

Dr. Tafoya

Sampaguita-Inez Tafoya, M.D.
Pediatric Anesthesiologist

“My sleeping baby owls one is popular with the kiddos,” Dr. Tafoya said as she showed off a bright array of caps. “My name is a flower, so I like when they have flowers on them.”

Dr. Tafoya spends her days in the operating room where strict sterility rules dictate the team’s scrubs. Dr. Tafoya can select her own surgical caps. She chooses those that appeal to kids.

“This is my way to soften up the usual ‘doctor look’ and make kids more comfortable,” Dr. Tafoya said.

The caps are handy when she’s putting a child to sleep before surgery. “To say, ‘Look at this creature’ or ‘Can you find this flower’ — to distract them when they’re under stress, I really like to do that.”

Dr Tafoya putting on cap
Dr Tafoya at work
My caps totally affect my mood. More importantly, they affect the patient’s mood.
Close up of Dr. Tafoya wearing her cap
Dr. Tafoya putting her mask on
Dr. Tafoya holding her caps

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Kathy Bryson

Radiation and Oncology Clinic nurse

“Once I left the ICU and recovery room, where a certain scrub was required, I thought ‘Oh, now I get to have fun with it.” Kathy’s switch to nursing in the Radiation and Oncology Clinic let her fill her work wardrobe with fun scrubs and unique jewelry.

Kathy cares for adults and children, but selects special scrubs when she knows she’ll be working with a young patient. “It’s kind of fun for the kids to see an adult wearing something fun that they can relate to.”

The scrubs help Kathy open up dialog with patients — and the bright colors and fun prints also help her feel better, too. “It’s hard to get up at 5:15 in the morning, so anything to get yourself going is helpful.”

Photo of Kathy in her scrub
It’s kind of fun for the kids to see an adult wearing something that they can relate to.
Kathy pointing at Tweety bird on her scrub
Kathy helping patient in wheelchair
Kathy helping a coworking
The back of Kathy's scrub while she sits at her desk

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Dr. Michelle James

Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dr. James’ pin collection started with a gift after finishing hand fellowship training. “Hands are a common motif in pins. Most of these are gifts because someone saw my pins and then brought me one.”

Her most meaningful pin shows hands with a range of differences like her young patients’ own hands. “I can show it to kids and say, ‘Can you find your hand on the pin?’” Even the Mickey Mouse hand pin — featuring a thumb and three fingers — is relatable for kids with hand differences.

Dr. James displays her pins on a white doctor’s coat. She believes that many children associate white coats with bad experiences, like getting shots. “I wear it deliberately to show them that a white coat experience can be positive.”

Photo of Dr. James in her decorated coat
Dr James laughing with coworkers
I think it’s a conversation piece sometimes with families, and that’s helpful.
Dr. James closeup of pins on lab coat
Dr. James working in lab.
Closeup of Dr. James wearing hwe coat with a lot of pins

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