Dear 100 Hour Board,
I am under the impression that the loosefitting, monochromatic outfit worn by medical assistants in various fields (e.g. nurses, dental hygeinists,?) is called "scrubs." My question is: Are scrubs color-coded? That is, is there significance to its color and, if so, what is it? Skill level? Medical? Thanks,
Yes, most medical institutions do have some sort of color coding system for the various employees that work there. However, much like police departments around the country, the color coding system can differ between each medical hospital, clinic, etc.
It has been a very recent change, however. Traditionally, only doctors wore scrubs, nurses wore white, volunteers wore pink jackets, and housekeeping wore more nonmedical looking clothes. In the last few years, however, those medical types have really broken loose and busted out a wide array of designs and colors on their scrubs: micky mouse prints, stripes, holiday attire, etc. Oooo--wild!!
The one problem is that, now that everyone is wearing scrubs, no one can tell who is trained to do what unless one is familiar with the staff or that hospital's coding system.
For example, at one ER, the doctors wore green, the nurses had every pattern imaginable on their scrubs, and housekeeping wore dark blue scrubs with white trim (looked like pajamas). At other hospitals, surgeons wear blue, doctors wear green and/or white lab coats, nurses wear pink (the classic ER television show has this usually).
So, basically, there is no concrete answer to your question because gone are the days of doctors in scrubs, nurses in white hats and skirts, and volunteers in pink polyester jackets (oh wait . . . volunteers do still wear those ancient things. Trust me, I know).
Scrubs colors are just like karate belts. If you see a guy in black scrubs, run. Okay, that's not true. According to my source in medical school, scrub colors just depend "on where you work on what they buy." Some hospitals may have color schemes, but they are apparently not universal across the profession.