Ask the Expert: Scrubs Policy for the Cleanroom

February 2010 - Vol.7 No. 2

Pharmacy Purchasing & Products: Is it acceptable for compounding staff to wear their scrubs from home?

Linda Ashley: While USP Chapter does not specifically address what is to be worn by compounding staff, it does specify the removal of personal outer garments such as coats, hats, and sweaters. Although this leaves the subject open to interpretation, common sense should dictate what clothing is appropriate for wearing underneath PPE. For example, one should not come dressed for compounding wearing a favorite pair of summer shorts. As compounding is generally done in a hospital setting, scrubs would seem a logical choice for this purpose. Whether scrubs are required and whether they are supplied by the individual or the hospital varies from facility to facility.

Assuming a facility requires staff to wear scrubs in the pharmacy, it begs the question as to whether there is a formal protocol concerning the supply of scrubs. If there is no formal policy barring staff from wearing scrubs brought from home, then how should you address the potential for introducing microbial contamination? As the compounder is the greatest source of potential contamination, this is a valid concern. However, since Chapter requirements for working in the buffer or cleanroom (or for any compounding done at a laminar flow hood) dictate the donning of a non-shedding gown that fits snug at the wrists and encloses the neck, any particles on the staff member’s clothing should thereby be kept from contaminating the workspace. If the facility policy bars bringing scrubs from home, the facility should provide adequate supplies, as well as a convenient storage space and changing area for the staff.

If the facility does not require scrubs, or personal supply is the choice, cleanliness should be stressed. Pant legs should not be torn or dirty from hanging below the shoes. In addition, scrub jackets or lab coats should be worn outside of the cleanroom and the anteroom and clothing should be checked to reduce the particles that are brought into the IV rooms. Keep a lint roller handy for this purpose.


Linda S. Ashley, PharmD, RP, received her doctor of pharmacy degree from Creighton University. She has been at Nebraska Methodist Hospital for nine years, with a focus on sterile compounding.




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