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A long time ago, nurses were obliged to wear long dark colored skirts with a matching long sleeved top and a big nurse's cap. The style evolved slowly into a white dress with short sleeves. Only operating room nurses were allowed to wear scrub suits whenever they were in the operating area.
However, at this present age, a lot of hospitals use scrub suits as their general uniform for the medical staffs because they can move more freely and it actually costs less.
I experienced the difference between the two during the time I was working for a hospital outside the city. The white uniform was much presentable and cleaner to look at compared to the usual scrub suit, but it was hard for lot of us to maintain it during our shift. Putting on multiple layers of clothes can be very uncomfortable, especially if you’re living in a tropical country such as the Philippines. The white traditional nurse's uniform required too much under garments. Aside from the underwear, the ladies were required to have a white pair of stockings and a chemise underneath. Not unlike when we just have to wear nursing scrub uniforms, it was more comfortable to move and run at any given situation (which is pretty important in our line of duty).