April 18, 2012 | | Comments 7
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Nurse uniforms: Should nurses be required to wear prescribed colors?

According to a recent news article, Allina Health System, a Minneapolis-based hospital group, will soon enforce color-coded uniform requirements so that patients and family members can easily identify nurses from other hospital workers. Starting May 1, all RNs must wear navy scrubs, a requirement that is causing protest among many nurses in the organization. Several nurses argue that brightly colored scrubs cheer up patients and that requiring a single color eliminates autonomy. The Minnesota Nurses Association filed a grievance over the policy.

In a hospital setting where most workers wear scrubs, including nurses and specialists as well receptionists, transporters, and housekeepers, color-coded uniforms are an easy way for patients to quickly identify the people who can best assist them. Proponents of one-color uniforms also argue that it boosts the professional images of RNs. Other solutions include large name badges that identify the roles and skills of hospital workers, or training workers to introduce themselves clearly upon meeting and assisting patients.

What do you think? Do you think color-coded uniforms are helpful, or do you think it doesn’t make much difference? Do you know of any alternatives for easy identification by patients and family members?

Entry Information

Filed Under: Image of nursing

About the Author: Katrina Gravel is an editor for the Education division of HCPro.

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  1. We have had designated scrub colors for over 5 years and staff LOVE it! What started out as a patient/family satisfier quickly became a staff satisfier. When attending a CODE or asking for assistance, you can tell immediately what the responder’s role is (i.e. green=respiratory; blue=RN; black=lab). This has gone a long way toward avoiding role confusion, especially in a large facility where it is impossible to know every employee.

  2. I think it is a wonderful idea. It brings cohesiveness to a team. I think it really helps the public and others know who does what in our complex health care system. I applaud this practice and hope our region looks to this in the future. This goes a long way to eliminate the bits and pieces of uniforms worn in the workplace today.

  3. Diane, thank you for sharing your facility’s designated scrub colors. You bring up a great point regarding facility size: While employees at smaller facilities may know everyone they work with and their roles, staff members at larger facilities can benefit from quickly identifying the roles of co-workers they may not usually interact with.

  4. Patti, thank you for your feedback. Do many of your colleagues agree with your opinion? Perhaps if there are enough people in favor of designated scrub colors, you could made a push in that direction at your facility.

  5. I like what I see so i am just following you. This post could not be written any better!

  6. Thank you so much for providing plenty of useful content. Your content is very useful.

  7. It is a good thinking. Colour-coded uniforms are much better. So it should be better.

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