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Medical Student Dress Code and Scrub Suit Policy

Appropriate deportment and dress are expected of students as they engage with patients and clinical colleagues.

  • Dress in routine morning lecture or in small group activity with no patient or standardized patient interaction in the first two years is informal.
  • In any environment where patients are present, students are required to wear a clean, short white coat with an ID badge identifying themselves as medical students. Clinical Attire Guidelines (below) should also be followed.


Clinical Attire Guidelines (required to be followed for all settings where real or standardized patients are present, including but not limited to Clerkship’s, IP/ECMH sites, CEC skills session, small group patient interviews):

  • Hair must be well groomed. Beards are acceptable when neatly trimmed.
  • No hats (with the exception of religious or cultural head coverings).
  • A minimum of jewelry should be worn.
  • Button-down shirts should not be open below the second button. No T-shirts or sweatshirts. No bare midriff.
  • No jeans, cargo pants, cut-offs or shorts.
  • Ties may be required in some clinical settings. Students should check with their preceptors.
  • Shoes must be closed toes. Clogs are acceptable, sandals are not. Shoes must be clean.
  • Clean sneakers are acceptable only when wearing scrubs.
  • Do not wear cologne or perfume in any clinical setting.
  • Skirts must be a conservative length (no miniskirts). No jeans, cargo pants or leggings without skirts.
  • Sheer garments, halter/tank tops and items designed to be worn as undergarments are unacceptable.
  • Minimize makeup.
  • Cuts and abrasions should be covered with tegaderm or similar water impervious material.
  • Universal Precautions should be followed with protective glasses and masks in any situation where exposure to body fluids is possible. Good personal hygiene is expected.
  • Feinberg students will follow infection control policies, including universal masking, and other PPE guidelines as mandated by Northwestern Medicine or clinical affiliates.


OR Guidelines

  • Double glove in the Operating Room with gloves that are one-half size larger on the inside and the real size on the outside.
  • Jewelry must come off before scrubbing. Earrings are unacceptable in the Operating Room.
  • Students must follow all specific OR policies at each clinical affiliate


General FSM Scrub Suit Guidelines

  • Scrub suits are permitted only in select direct patient care areas.
  • When outside patient care areas, students must wear their white coats as well.
  • Scrub suits are to be changed daily and immediately when soiled.
  • T-shirts should not extend below the scrub top.
  • Students must follow each hospital’s policies regarding scrub suits
  • Scrub suits should never be worn outside hospital buildings.
  • Scrubs should be changed in appropriate changing location.


Specific NMH Policies regarding scrub suits

Surgical Scrubs (jade green)

  • At NMH surgical (jade green scrubs) are used in the ORs. Jade blue scrubs are used in areas such as the ED and ICU.  Jade green scrubs are only for the ORs.  They must not be worn outside hospital buildings (defined as buildings connected to Feinberg by a bridge or tunnel). Surgical scrubs are not to be worn outside on the street.
  • A closed, clean cover-up, such as a lab coat, must be worn when outside of the OR and inside the hospital (i.e. all public areas, elevators and when moving between different units).


Non-Surgical Scrubs (misty blue)

  • Non-surgical scrubs are not allowed in semi-restricted and restricted areas such as the ORs.
  • Misty blue hospital issued non-surgical scrubs may be issued to those not working in restricted and semi-restricted areas, such as Medical Students and Residents.
  • Misty blue hospital issued scrubs may be worn outside the hospital during the work day for example transitioning between office and hospital buildings.
  • For professional reasons, a clean lab coat should be worn over blue scrubs.



Related LCME Standard

3.5 Learning Environment/Professionalism


Last Updated: 8/24/2020