Color Coding Nurses

  1. I am in the process of getting a contract signed and everything lined up for my first job after graduation. When I asked about dress code i found out that I will have to wear Navy scrubs, or a Navy top with white pants. CNAs wear a different color, RT wears a different color, and LPNs wear a different color, Docs where Ciel blue or that wierd Gray color. We are however able to wear printed jackets of our choosing. I have noticed that if a hospital has the policy, often RNs wear Navy and White... I was wondering why these two colors are chosen so often. Although I do think it will be nice to be able to tell who is what by the colors they wear, I just wondered if anyone could tell me if there is some significance to the Navy and White combo?

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    About BrandyBSN

    Joined: Jun '01; Posts: 973; Likes: 38
    Community Health Nurse


  3. by   debbyed
    As far as I know, most places when choosing specific colors use either Blue or Green so that both the male and female nurses are equally comfortable with the choice. I know of no other reason.

    Personally I am used to wearing scrubs of my choice. It would be difficult to change, but than again I am an "old dog"

    God luck with your future.
  4. by   moonshadeau
    Our unit used to wear only green, then everybody wanted to puke everytime we put on green scrubs because we hated the color so much. So now we are many shades of blue and green. Everyone on our unit wears blue or green regardless of position. Pharmacy wears maroon, dietary wears black and white, PT wears hot pink. I think it is just a matter of hospital/ unit preference. I think that you introduce yourself as a nurse, it doesn't matter too much. But beware!!! If you ask most patients they want to know why nurses don't wear whites and caps anymore.
  5. by   P_RN
    When we lost so many nurses to call up in the Gulf War we had to go to 12 hours. I brought up the subject, could we wear scrubs....meaning hospital scrubbies. The NM said "sure as long as they are ALL the same color.....NAVY."

    Over the years it expanded to Navy/ or all white. Then we kind of crept over to multi colors and pretty jackets.

    Then the hospital merged with two others, went PRIVATE and the new CEO decided only TWO colors + white for each unit. EVERYONE on theunit could wear any of the three.
    So............ Caribbean/navy/white. And yes we had to trash all the old uniforms.

  6. by   rjlrn95
    I have to agree that most of the pts in this area still want to see the nurses wear white as a predominate color. It is the only way they know who are the "real nurses". Otherwise, every female in a uniform is a "nurse" and every male is a "dr"--what a scary thought.

    I've noticed when I wear white pants and white jacket/vest w/a
    color/print shirt I get many compliments from young and old alike about how "professional" I look.

    In our area resp seems to wear royal blue, PT wears navy and white, housekeeping in the deep pink/rose shades, ER greens/whites combos. One of the ladies said it all last week;
    "if you show up clean, on time, and ready to work no one says too much about color."
  7. by   deespoohbear
    At our small hospital, we are pretty spoiled. On our med/surg floor the nurses wear white pants and about any kind of nursing top we want. I usually wear a white scrub top and a colored or print jacket. Our CNA's usually wear scrubs with both the tops and bottoms the same color. ICU wears dark green hospital issued scrubs. OB wears pink bottoms and those cutesy OB printed tops. ER wears hospital issued scrubs. It makes it very easy to pick out shirts and pants to wear to work.
  8. by   RNforLongTime
    At my hospital, the Nursing staff and ancillary staff are allowed to wear pretty much whatever we like as long as they are scrubs. I can wear pink, blue, green, red, black, yellow...etc...etc..etc. I wear a lot of printed tops, jackets but stick to solid color pants. I like being able to be creative, especially around holiday times!

    At the place that I used to work, the Nurses wore either ALL white or ALL ceil blue, purple or wine. We were not allowed to miax and match and were not allowed to wear prints of any kind. Unless you were a Peds nurse. They were allowed to were the character tops. The OB dept, Surgery dept. and Dialysis nurses were the only nurses allowed to wear the hospital issued scrubs.
  9. by   Ted
    At our very small, little, teeny, community, rural hospital, we can wear just about anything as long as it's clean and kind-of looks "Nursey". I wear white pants with a colored scrub top (either green, blue, black, or red).

    I went to work, once, after attending my brother's wedding. That night I had one patient (the only patient in the unit at the time). I wore my good shirt and pants . . . and of the heck of it kept the tie on as well. (Forgot my scubs. . . oops). Gave the patient a wonderful smile and a giggle.

    What do nurses in other countries wear? I heard once that male nurses in England can wear a shirt a tie in some hospitals. Is this true?


    Ted Fiebke
  10. by   Y2KRN

    I am surprised at how many places have dress codes with colors for scrubs. I work in an ER and we can wear anything that we want. There are no colors designated to different areas. This has been true for me when I worked in West Virginia, and here in Connecticut. I have never had to have only a few colors to choose from. Interesting!! The only time I had to wear a certain color of scrubs was when I was an OR tech and that for obvious reasons, and the hospital supplied the scrubs.

  11. by   nicola
    I don't know if this is the answer to "why navy and white", but those are the traditional colors for community nursing. Two places where I worked in community health (on as a HHA, the other as an RN), all RN's wore blue and white. When I worked for an agency that specializes in HIV home care, we were encouraged to dress the way others in the neighborhoods we worked in dressed. I wore lots of jeans! The idea was to be as inconspicuous as possible. I'm sorry, but my fair skinned, green eyed self sticks out in Harlem, no matter what I'm wearing!!! LOL!
  12. by   canoehead
    Perhaps we could introduce a policy to wear scrubs coinciding to the level of acuity we felt up to handling that day. Black and blue for the trauma types, pink for the wusses, and red for anyone that didn't care, so long as there was blood spurting involved.
  13. by   nilepoc
    Our hospital does not have a dress policy,

    They seem to be happy as long as you cover up the important bits.

    Personally I wear scrub tops, with military style BDU's (I like the pockets).

    Our OR nurses even have to provide thier own scrubs (the circulators).

    Needless to say our hospital can be quite colorful.

    As far as Navy and white are concerned, I know that in the last hospital I worked in, navy was the only compramise the administrators would make to an otherwise all white uniform. We had to complain loudly that white would not work in an ICU enviornment.
    Last edit by nilepoc on Oct 4, '01
  14. by   mattcastens
    I have always received compliments on how professional I look, and I don't wear white. I hate white! It's possible to look like a health care professional without white. Our hospital's policy is wear whatever scrubs you like.

    I wear: Black pants with black shoes (yes, black), a solid color top, and a short white jacket with my nametag.

    Professional dress shows pride in yourself and your job. I've also found that doctors, families and patients all stop and listen when I talk. I attribute some of this to my professional dress.

    Along those lines (and I might be starting a new thread with this), I find it hard to take seriously nurses who don't follow healthy living practices. So many smoke, eat junk, or are overweight ... what must their patients think?? I realize that these are hard habits or addictions to break. Even so, the best way to teach healthy living is by example.