Weekly poll: Color-coded scrubs for nurses

By: April 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

A health system’s switch to color-coded scrubs is receiving push-back from nurses, according to a post appearing on The Leaders’ Lounge.

The reasoning behind the change is that in healthcare 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.

While not strictly a worker safety issue, scrubs-related and uniform questions are always a hot topic among OSHA Healthcare Advisor readers.

Should nurses be required to wear prescribed color scrubs or uniforms? Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

After taking the survey, click here for the results.

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By Bruce Cunha on April 24th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

We had to put a limit on this some years back. We were totally not prepared for the variety of scrubs on the market. The “Jeans” scrubs were one thing, but when staff started showing up in camouflage scrubs, our facility had to step in.

I worked at a facility that went to color coded for all HCWs with direct patient care functions from registration with colored polos to x-ray, lab, RN, CNA, RT, etc. The patients really liked it because at a glance you knew who was there. For certain holidays they could wear a holiday appropriate warm-up jacket and in colder weather they could put certain colors of turtlenecks under the short sleeved scrub top. I now work at a facility where any scrub is acceptable and I don’t think it is near as patient- friendly as far as customer service. So, to some extent the dress code is reflective of other things.

By Penny Lewis on April 25th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I worked in a Rehab/Convalescent Ctr, and we were color coded. I hated it and was totally against it (because our scrubs were so ugly). But I realized that being color coded made it easier for my patients to dinstinguish who people were, and have their needs met a lot faster, as apposed to, getting three or four different people before they get the right one. So I think its a good idea, especially for the elderly. Making them happy, makes me happy, and my job a lot easier! (Let the nurses choose pretty colors).

Penny’s comments make sense- when we were doing initial selection we kept them solid colors in a variety of top & pants styles. We also let a few staff wear them for a week in various colors so each group had 2-3 color choices from which to vote. It should never be a dictate as to which ones are chosen. Initially, the place gave part time staff one set and full time staff two sets. After that there were quarterly “sales” events from the vendor so staff did not have to buy them full price. Since it was a required uniform it is also a tax deduction for those who itemize their taxes.

Penny- good point- we allowed staff to vote for 2-3 selections in each group and all of them had a variety of top styles from which to choose. There were quarterly sales from the vendor because everyone had to buy them. Also, the firm bought one top for part time and two for full time. Pants had to be in a complementary color but again had some selections allowed by each group and didn’t have to come from the vender. We also had the facility logo on them.


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