Why do hospitals use color-coded scrubs?

Date Posted: January 24, 2018

Medical Staff

Have you ever wondered if there is a rhyme or reason to the colored scrubs you see your medical caretakers wearing? Sure, it makes for a more colorful experience, but there are some good reasons that many hospitals and medical facilities are implementing standardized color-coded uniforms for staff.

  • Patient Safety. By implementing standard color uniforms to the many different disciplines in a medical facility, the staff can easily be identified by the patient, studies have shown. Consider that patients often have trouble distinguishing their caregivers when there is no uniform standardization. The issue of identification becomes extremely important in distinguishing a nurse from a doctor or a lab technician from a nurse. Standardized uniform colors for different disciplines has been proven to improve patient safety.
  • Patient Satisfaction. Patient surveys have shown that not only do patients express a higher satisfaction with color-coded uniforms, they outright prefer it. Patients want to know who’s in charge of their care! The patient’s perception is an increased sense of professionalism and higher quality care.
  • Employee Satisfaction. When discussing plans to purchase standard color-coded uniforms it is common for staff to express anxiety or disapproval. However, once the dress code is in place and patients have a positive response, staff usually have a change of heart and feel a greater sense of team morale and organizational pride.

Catalina Island Health feels that these are all good reasons to implement color-coded scrub uniforms to staff, but our number one reason is to improve patient safety and satisfaction within the community we serve.