Color-Coded Attire to Improve Patient Recognition, Satisfaction and Safety
Release Date: 07/17/2007

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Alegent Health’s health care workers adopt a color-specific dress code policy to benefit patients and families. OMAHA, Neb.—A hospital stay, no matter how short, often causes uneasiness. There are many people who come into your room who might be unrecognizable. And while spotting a physician in his or her clinical white lab coat is fairly easy, distinguishing the difference between a nurse, technician or therapist can be a little more of a challenge. Alegent Health will soon be taking the guesswork out of recognizing the role and expertise of clinical caregivers for patients and families by implementing a color-coded professional dress and appearance policy. “Alegent Health is dedicated to improving the quality of care and safety of our patients,” said Richard Hachten II, president of Alegent Health. “We believe that starts with the professional attire of our health care professionals. For patients and families, having similar colors and styles makes it easier to distinguish between a nurse, technician or therapist. Color-coded attire helps build trust, communication and adds to a patient’s experience while they’re in our care.” Beginning July first, all care professionals at Alegent’s metro hospital campuses will be outfitted with a specific color of uniform pants, tops and jackets, depending on the role he or she fulfills. The professional dress and appearance policy breaks down as follows:
  • Navy: All registered nurses (RNs), licensed nurse practitioners (LPNs) and house supervisors.
  • Ceil Blue: Diagnostics technicians.
  • Caribbean Blue: Occupational, physical, radiation, recreational and speech therapists.
  • Hunter Green: EKG technicians, cardiac sonographers and vascular technicians.
  • Teal: Lab services.
  • Wine: Behavioral services technicians, obstetrics technicians, certified nursing assistant (CNAs) and paramedics.
  • Black: Respiratory therapists and sleep lab technicians.
  • Green: Employees who work with contamination or may potentially come into contact with harmful bodily fluids.
  • Alegent Health decided to adopt the policy due to expert opinion that consistency and coordination of professional appearance helps patients and their families interact more effectively with their health care professionals during their hospital stay. Pediatric nursing and support staff at Bergan Mercy are the exception to the policy, due to the unique needs of children and their positive response to colorful prints. Lakeside Hospital initially piloted the color-coded clinical attire and employee and patient response has been extremely positive. “As soon as I step in the door, patients are able to immediately identify me as a nurse by the navy scrubs I wear. I think patients feel safer and build a better rapport with us, knowing who we are and what role we fulfill at all times,” said Karen Ourada, RN at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. “To me, excellent care begins with professional dress and the uniform color has a more professional appearance.” Brochures, posters and other materials in patient rooms and throughout the hospitals help communicate the specific colors each professional group wears to patients and their families. Alegent Health has also given gift certificates for free uniforms to every employee affected by this new policy. Hospitals hue to new code Chart of color-coded uniforms