Hospital Scrubs: Do Scrub Colors Affect Patients

Hospital Scrubs: Do Scrub Colors Affect Patients

By Cindy Lima

Hospital scrubs are now being used by everyone that works in a hospital, including the front desk. If you are in need of a nurse, how would you go about identifying without having to ask everyone that works there?

Patients are confused in what color hospital scrubs their nurse is wearing. Identifying nurses at a hospital is now harder than ever. A study’s findings found that patients are often confuse on who is who within the hospital. Since everyone is wearing scrubs, patients do not know the scrub color policy that the hospital has.

A New Direction

Nurses used the common white uniform from 1836 to around 1970. During the 70’s, nurses’ medical uniforms went under a major change. That change shifts the traditional idea of hospital scrubs into a new direction. Hospitals scrubs of many different colors began to become popular.

Nurses are now wearing hospital scrubs in many different colors which is established by a hospital’s color coding guidelines. A study conducted by the Journal of Nursing Administration found that “a standardized uniform style and color clearly increased the perception of professionalism and recognition of RNs among patients.”

The confusion in patients in identifying hospital scrub colors has been increasing in the recent years. Such that a legislation is now in effect in 38 states in the U.S. The Nurse Title Protection Legislation ensures the safety of patient care in order to avoid misrepresentation. To those who are not license nor have the education to practice nursing. “A nurse’s attire and color of that attire sends a vital message about the skills and quality of care a patient receives. We discovered it’s more effective than an ID badge in helping to identify an RN,” Hatfield said. “Half of the people interviewed found the badges difficult to read, plus you have to be very close to read an ID badge.”

The Solution

The Pennsylvania Hospital has adopted a new hospital scrub color policy. All RNs must wear dark blue in order for patients to be able to identify the nurses more easily than before. After the implementation, a patient found an increase in their personal safety. “After we launched the new Professional Image Policy a patient told one of our nurse managers that it made him feel safe,” Del Guidice said. “The patient said, ‘When I see someone walking down the hall in dark blue, I know that’s a nurse, right there, watching out for me.”

Hospital scrubs vary in colors nowadays. Patients are finding hard to identify RNs within the hospital. However, hospitals are beginning to notice that a hospital’s scrubs color variation is causing confusion for patients. Hospitals are making changes into their hospital scrub color policies. For example, making RNs easier to identify by implementing one universal scrub color for them.