My hospital has mandatory scrub colors, and I thought I’d hate it. I gave all my patterned and multi-colored scrubs to my sister who works in a doctor’s office (on the condition that I can have them back if needed) and went out to buy new scrubs. Eight months later, I wouldn’t change a thing… about the scrub policy, that is.
As a new nurse it helped me identify my co-workers. I can glance down our long hall and know exactly who is going into my patient’s room. And if it is helpful to a new nurse who doesn’t know anybody, it makes sense that it would help a patient identify those strangers in his or her room. I don’t think name tags alone would be enough. The tags get turned around all the time, and the writing would have to be much bigger. Also, it is early morning when the most number of people come through the patient’s room. We all introduce ourselves to the patient, but usually all the patient can remember when telling me who came by is the color that person was wearing. The patients don’t usually remember which color belonged to which of the various positions, but they quickly pick up on at least two colors: those of the nurse and the nurse aide. Three if they get regular breathing treatments.
Consistent, solid colors look much more professional than a sea of clashing colors and patterns. It shaves off the 5 seconds l used to decide which pair of scrubs to wear. All my tops and bottoms match. Most of our assigned colors go well with a lot of other colors, so our staff are able to use colors and patterns as layers (though not technically sanctioned by administration)- still uniform with a touch of individuality. I have one blue jacket with multi-colored stars. One of the colors matches my uniform perfectly, and patients comment on it every time I wear it. Silly, but I think it shows how our patients are sensitive to our appearance.
And there’s room for change. Our LVNs recently got together and voted on a color change. Unfortunately for the male LVNs, it was to a bright, quite feminine-looking color. One big guy now refers to his new uniforms as his “gaydar.”
*** Disappearing John RN: Mandatory scrub colors…