What Is a Scrub Watch?

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Nursing is one of the most difficult professions out there – and deserves to be recognized more as such.  Nurses simply live a different life and require different care and equipment. Case in point: their watches.

Nurses are incredibly busy, shuttling from one patient and task to another, checking their watches all the while and using them when keeping time is part of tasks like taking a pulse. But what about when it comes time to wash up? They can’t waste time putting watches on and taking them off again, and that might not be very hygienic anyway. On the other hand, a luxury watch can get damaged, and it or something like an Apple watch can sometimes get damaged by the water.

Enter the Speidel scrub watch. This innovation is just what it sounds like – a watch specifically designed to allow nurses to scrub up without taking their watches off and without worrying about them getting splashed. These watches are supposed to be more waterproof and durable, but are they? What other potential benefits do they offer nurses over other watches?

Are Scrub Watches Waterproof?

This is obviously the most important feature and arguably the entire raison d’etre behind getting a scrub watch in the first place. One of the most important things to recognize about any watch, however, is that “waterproof” is a relative concept. The deeper you get into water, the more water pressure there is, and at a certain point, no watch is truly “waterproof.” Instead, different watches have different degrees of durability and resistance, and can stand up to different degrees of water.

This is where the good news with scrub watches from Speidel comes in. They have a water resistance of up to 30 m/99 ft. Now, if you are a diver, that may not seem like too much. If you’re diving into water all the time as a member of a scuba team, or working for the coast guard or in a similar role, 30 m of water resistance may seem like nothing.

But as a nurse?

Again, nursing is hard, but water resistance-wise, it’s not like you’re going to be diving into lakes or deep sea diving on a daily basis.

For the basic purpose of protecting watches from the type of splashing you can expect when washing up and engaging in activity typical of nursing. In that regard, it means that these watches are practically waterproof for the purposes for which they will typically be used.

That’s all the truer when you throw in the fact that these watches are incredibly durable as well. The last thing watches need is for a watch to crack or break on them. Cracked glass can pose an enormous health risk to both nurses as well as anyone they treat. Even if something as nightmarish as that doesn’t happen, even the slightest timekeeping inaccuracies caused by blunt force damage can be life changing. When you as a nurse take someone’s pulse, it needs to be absolutely accurate.

Thankfully, these watches are not just waterproof but well-sealed and highly durable, ensuring that this kind of timekeeping problem provoked by blunt force trauma or similar causes does not happen.

Why Do Nurses Need a Watch with a Second Hand?

You might well wonder why anyone, including a nurse, might want a traditional analog watch right now. Sure, analog watches may be seen as more fashionable by some, but why would a nurse want one? Well, because they offer an easy to view minute and second hand, though that itself begs the question, why do they care so much about that?

Well, we’ve already alluded to the reason why, namely, that nurses need to be able to keep time with the utmost precision when tending to patients and performing tasks such as checking patients’ pulses. They can’t just “guess” time down to the seconds – they need a watch with a second hand.

Obviously, by this point, most digital watches include second indicators as well. However, these are often listed in small numbers in one of the corners of the watch face. That can cause you to squint or delay for a second while checking the time or amount of seconds, and you simply can’t do that as a nurse. You need to be able to tell the time down to the second at a glance. That means having a big indicator like, say, a big second hand, and that’s precisely what nurse-friendly watches such as the Speidel scrub watch are able to offer.

Are Nurses Allowed to Wear Watches?

This is a difficult question to answer because while nurses can and in some cases are actually encouraged to wear watches while working, there are a lot of caveats to that, and comparatively few watches are actually “nurse-friendly.”

For example, as mentioned above, nurses can’t just wear a Rolex or Apple Watch to work, and they can’t wear any other watch they wear outside of work for any other purpose, either. The risk of bringing outside bacteria into a doctor’s office or hospital is just too great.

Instead, nurse watches are only used while at work, and are kept in a safe place in between shifts.

On top of that, different nurses wear different kinds of watches to try and minimize the risk of bacteria transmission between their wrists and hands. While some may wear wristwatches, others wear clip-on fob watches on their lab coats or pants so as to eliminate the watch band’s contact with their skin entirely. What’s more, different facilities have different rules.

You should always ask your office or hospital if wearing a scrub watch is allowed on the premises.

With that said, scrub watches are still designed with nurses in mind, so if you are allowed to wear them while at work, they may feel like an improvement over other analog watch options.