Surgical Scrubbing and Attire in the Operating Room and ICU: A Multicultural Guide

Rewan Abdelwahab, Aisha Aden, Brenda Bearden, Alaa Sada, J. Michael Bostwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In response to the challenges faced as diverse students when first encountering the intricacies of scrubbing into the operating room (OR), we have prepared a rudimentary surgical skills guide to supplement the knowledge of students and educators alike. In keeping with the need to adapt standard protocols to accommodate religious and cultural practices, this guide focuses on hijab, natural hair, dastar, protective styles, and beard protocol in the OR. It addresses some of the personal protective equipment needs of Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Sikhs, and groups maintaining beards as a part of cultural or religious practices. We intend this guide to serve as a foundation on which the medical field can update its educational practices in line with the increased diversity of the medical professions, while also continuing to ensure the safety of OR and ICU patients. This guide also highlights COVID-19-specific changes in personal protective equipment and seeks to open up a conversation about the necessity of currently held surgical practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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