June 26, 1998

Collection effort targets wayward hospital scrubs

Collection effort targets wayward hospital scrubs

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Linen Service's Kris Stewart is heading up the effort to retrieve missing scrubs. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

Next week, Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty, residents and staff will get the chance to ease their consciences and return those sets of hospital scrubs that have somehow managed to pile up around the house, at the office or in the back seat of the car.

Amnesty Day for Scrubs, set for Monday, June 29, was created to encourage staff to bring back wayward scrubs so that VUMC's Linen Services can put them back in circulation.

Scrubs can be returned to B-813 in the Vanderbilt Clinic. No names will be taken. Offenders won't be punished and there will be no repercussions for those who have, over the last few months, "acquired" several sets of everyone's favorite health care garment.

"We're not looking to go after people and we're not trying to get people in trouble," said Kris Stewart, manager of Linen Services. "We're just trying to get the scrubs back and save some money."

To help encourage participation, those that return scrubs will receive a voucher for $1 off food purchased in the hospital cafeteria. They will also, if they choose to register, be eligible to win a dinner-for-two at Outback Steakhouse.

"Amnesty Day for Scrubs is only for those who want to participate," Stewart said. "This isn't about trying to determine who is stealing scrubs because if they bring them back, they didn't steal them."

Most people don't give scrubs a second thought. They are comfortable, plentiful, utilitarian and, for many people, a necessary tool of the trade. They are not, however, free.

Two years ago, before VUMC installed several ATM-like scrub dispensing machines, it cost nearly $150,000 each year to replace worn-out and missing scrubs. Based on the number of authorized users, that figure should have been only about $27,000.

For more information on VUMC's first Amnesty Day for Scrubs, call Stewart at 343-3132.