NORWAY – Stephens Memorial Hospital is standardizing the uniforms of all employees who come in contact with patients through a new color-coded system.

Some people can recall the days long ago when nurses wore white uniforms that included a cap, white hose and shoes. These were replaced about 30 years ago with solid color scrubs, which were more comfortable.

Printed scrubs then entered the picture and became popular with nurses and other health care workers, clinical and non-clinical, and role confusion began.

Now patterned scrub suits and multicolor T-shirts are gone at Stephens. Registered nurses are wearing solid navy blue and/or white only, which will help patients, visitors and staff to identify them.

Certified nurse’s aides are wearing burgundy and/or gray to identify their role. Ward secretaries will wear a royal blue jacket. Housekeeping has chosen teal green pants and shirts. Several other departments, imaging, laboratory services, dietary, engineering, central registration, physical therapy, will soon follow.

“Family members, visitors as well as our patients told us they couldn’t tell who was a nurse, a housekeeper or a lab tech. In an effort to better communicate roles to the patient, we: remade name badges with names in larger print; placed white boards in each room for the staff to print their names each shift; and asked all staff to introduce themselves to the patient and visitors when entering the room. While we have seen some improvements, we feel that color-coded uniforms will have an even greater impact on our patients,” said Senior Vice President, Clinical Services, M. Patricia Cook RN.

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