Okay here goes....No one said clothes make someone who they are. But we would be kidding ourselves if we pretended that what we wore didn't have any impact on how we look or what impression we gave to others.
Yes, I'd be weirded out if the cashier at Wendy's was wearing scrubs...just like I'd be weirded out if my surgeon was wearing a Wendy's uniform. It wouldn't be the best impression if I met my lawyer in court and she was wearing a track suit, sneakers and sweat bands.
Part of what separates medical staff from non-medical staff in a hospital is the dress--scrubs. And this is admittedly coming from a medical staff member.
When I am a nurse, wearing my green scrubs, I am acting as a medical professional. On top of being concerned with mom's comfort and happiness, I am concerned with baby's heart rate, the IV flow rate, keeping track of which meds are due at which time, and yes, unfortunately, I am concerned with hospital policy more often than I should have to be. I don't mind looking different from the mother or her family/friends because I *am* different from her family and friends, in a lot of ways.
My green scrubs tell the whole hospital that I am techincally an OR nurse. That is why L&D nurses can't wear their own scrubs, because we have to follow protocol of the OR. My scrubs are laundered and provided by the hospital for a very specific reason.
Tbh, I don't want to be separate or different from the laboring mother or her family when I am her doula. I am there with ONE goal, to help her get what she wants out of the birth. Medications, IVs, fetal monitoring, hospital policy (except where it directly applies to me) are not my concern as a doula. My boundaries are very different, as are my duties. My heart is also in a bit of a different place.
It may seem very basic, and I guess it is...but when everyone in scrubs is hurting or bothering you--sticking IVs in you, hanging antibiotics that sting your arm, drawing blood, bothering you with monitors and BP cuffs, telling you you can't have so many visitors, moving your bedside table out of reach because you're not supposed to be drinking that gatorade, performing vaginal/cervical exams, breaking your water, etc....well, your anxiety level goes up while your comfort level goes down when people with scrubs are around.
Of course not everyone is susceptible, and it's almost always subconscious. But it's not something that I want to risk my client experiencing due to my presence.
And while it's sad that I feel I have to preemptively defend myself--as an RN I am about my patient. I am the best advocate that I can be. But the truth is, my heart is usually not in it as it is with a doula client, because often I've had less than a few hours to get to know the mother, whereas I've met with my client numerous times, discussing goals, dreams, hopes, fears, etc.
So, again, I think it's not the best idea for a doula to wear scrubs. My opinion changes if the doula is only wearing scrub pants and has on a "street" shirt.