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What Color Scrubs Do Nurses Wear? All About Scrubs Colors for Medical Professionals

What Color Scrubs Do Nurses Wear?

When we paint a picture of nurses in our minds, we almost always imagine someone dressed in scrubs - the classic outfit of healthcare workers around the world. While nurses are known for their long shifts and endless dedication, they’re equally famous for their scrubs. 

But what color scrubs do nurses wear? Can you tell a healthcare worker’s profession by the color of the scrubs they’re wearing? In this article, we’ll discuss different scrubs colors and scrub color meanings.

We’ll also show you the best place to buy different colors of scrubs, made from soft, durable, comfortable material. 

Is There a Scrub Color Meaning?

So, do different color scrubs mean anything? Are different scrubs colors reserved for specific roles or positions? Let’s take a look at the different scrub color meanings. 

Historical Context

The origins of scrubs colors can be traced back to the mid-20th century. Prior to this era, nurses predominantly wore all-white, symbolizing cleanliness, but as we all know, it’s hard to keep white clothing clean, and white isn’t ideal if you’re wearing scrubs in public

Also, the medical community recognized the importance of distinguishing various healthcare roles within a hospital, leading to the introduction of color-coded uniforms. Many surgeons, for instance, began wearing green scrubs to reduce eye strain during lengthy procedures.

Departmental Distinction

Today, the choice of scrub color often depends on the specific department or role within a healthcare facility. This practice not only streamlines identification but also contributes to a more efficient and organized work environment.

Scrubs colors aren’t always used to denote departments - it depends on the institution and whether or not they choose to implement policies around different colors of scrubs. There are no official rules that require institutions to color code their scrubs, but it’s a common practice. 

Psychological Impacts on Patients

The color of scrubs worn by healthcare professionals can have a subtle yet significant impact on patients' psychological well-being. For instance, bright and cheerful colors can promote a sense of optimism and comfort, particularly in pediatric or psychiatric settings. 

On the other hand, calming and subdued colors like blues and greens can create an atmosphere of trust and relaxation, which is essential in emergency rooms and critical care units.

Also, consistency is often important for patients. Seeing nurses in specific scrubs colors and doctors or surgeons in others helps patients understand who is who, and can reduce the stress and anxiety of their hospital stay. 

What Color Scrubs Do Nurses Wear?

So, what color scrubs do nurses wear? Are there specific colors of scrubs that nurses must wear, or is it a matter of finding any scrubs you’re comfortable in? Let’s take a look at different scrubs colors and scrub color meanings for nurses. 

Why Nurses Typically Wear Light Blue Scrubs

What color scrubs do nurses wear? Light, ceil blue scrubs are the standard choice for many nurses, and helps them stand out from doctors and surgeons. 

Why do nurses wear scrubs in blue? Light blue can help hide stains and dirt, which is crucial in a healthcare setting where cleanliness and hygiene are paramount. 

The gentle, soothing shade of light blue can promote a sense of tranquility among patients. It is considered non-threatening and can help alleviate anxiety, making it ideal for nurses working in various patient care settings.

Can You Wear Other Colors to Express Your Personality and Keep Things Fresh?

Do nurses have to wear light blue scrubs, or can they choose other scrubs colors? Ultimately, it depends on the healthcare facility in question. 

While light blue scrubs are the conventional choice for nurses, many healthcare facilities allow for some flexibility in color options. So, what color scrubs do nurses wear if not blue? Here’s a quick look at some other popular colors of scrubs.

Burgundy scrubs are a flattering choice, and the dark color is ideal for hiding darker stains. Burgundy is a nice alternative to red scrubs, which may be too bright and anxiety-inducing for a patient care setting. 

Charcoal scrubs or grey scrubs are sometimes reserved for administrative staff, but can also be worn by nurses in certain settings. Charcoal is a great neutral color and a nice muted alternative if you’re not a fan of brighter scrubs. 

Hunter green scrubs are often worn by surgeons because they provide good contrast to the colors of many human tissues, and can reduce eye strain during long procedures. However, they can also be a good choice for nurses if permitted.

Purple scrubs are often seen as more relaxed, and are often worn in pediatric settings because it’s a fun color that many children don’t associate with medical settings, helping them relax and stay comfortable during their healthcare visits. 

If you’re wondering how to look good in scrubs and want to stand out in the right ways, black scrubs are a good place to start. These are elegant, sophisticated, and less common than many other colors. 

Teal scrubs are a classic in just about every healthcare setting. It’s a calming color, making it a popular choice among doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. 

Registered nurses and general medical staff commonly wear royal blue scrubs. Blue exudes a sense of trust and reliability, making it a popular choice for those in direct patient care roles. It also reflects a calm and reassuring presence. 

Aqua scrubs are one of the most popular colors of scrubs for nurses. Aqua brings about a sense of calm, making these scrubs perfect for patient-facing healthcare professionals. 

Forest green scrubs are popular with surgical teams, including anesthesiologists. These scrubs hide stains well and are a nice soothing color for patients. 

What Color Scrubs Do Doctors Wear?

So, if nurses typically wear light blue scrubs, what color scrubs do doctors wear? Typically, darker blue hues are worn by doctors, but it varies greatly. Some medical facilities require doctors in different departments to wear specific colors. 

For example, oncologists may wear dark blue or green scrubs. What color scrubs do doctors wear in pediatrics? Typically, doctors working with children may wear brighter colors, to evoke a sense of fun among their patients. 

What Color Scrubs Do Surgeons Wear?

What color scrubs do surgeons wear? When it comes to surgical attire, the iconic color that comes to mind for many is green. It reduces eye strain, provides good contrast during surgical procedures, and is calming for patients.

What color scrubs do surgeons wear if not green? Some healthcare facilities have policies where surgeons are required to wear certain scrubs colors, while others are free to choose their colors based on personal preference. 

Tips on Wearing Different Color Scrubs

Finding the right scrubs goes beyond understanding what color scrubs do doctors wear, or nurses, surgeons, or any other healthcare professional. Wearing scrubs that are comfortable and functional is a top priority for all healthcare professionals. 

Here are some tips for choosing the best scrubs for you, in flattering colors and styles, to keep you comfortable during even the longest shift. 

Color Coordinating With Shoes and Other Accessories

One way to elevate your scrub game is by considering how to complement your scrubs with other elements of your attire. You might like to coordinate the color of your shoes with your scrub ensemble for a polished, harmonious look. 

Accessories such as stethoscopes, badge holders, and even a watch can enhance your overall appearance. Just make sure that any accessories you wear in a clinical setting are functional and don't compromise hygiene or safety.

On colder days or in facilities with varying temperatures, consider layering with lab coats or jackets. These outer layers can be chosen in colors that complement your scrubs and provide extra warmth and professionalism.

Matching Function With Fashion

While aesthetics are important, never forget the primary purpose of scrubs - functionality in a healthcare setting. For example, scrubs with ample, well-constructed pockets can be a lifesaver in healthcare. 

Choose scrubs with pockets that can hold essential items like pens, notepads, scissors, and medical instruments. Ensure that the pocket placement is practical and doesn't hinder your movements or access to tools.

It’s also essential to choose scrubs that fit well and allow you to move comfortably. Ill-fitting scrubs can be distracting and uncomfortable during long shifts. Many modern scrubs are designed with stretch fabric for added comfort without sacrificing style.

Keeping Your Scrubs Colors Vibrant

To maintain the vibrancy of your scrubs, wash them separately from other clothing to prevent color bleeding. Dark or vibrant colors can transfer onto lighter fabrics, causing your scrubs to lose their colors quickly.

Turn scrubs inside out and wash in cold water, as hot water can cause colors to fade more quickly. Choose a detergent specifically labeled as color-safe to help preserve the integrity of your scrub colors. Avoid bleach or harsh chemicals that can dull or weaken the fabric.

Find All the Different Scrubs Colors in One Place at Poppy Scrubs!

At Poppy, we have scrubs in the 8 most popular colors for healthcare workers. Our premium scrubs are designed by a nurse, who understands exactly what healthcare workers need in comfortable, practical, clothing. 

With expertly placed pockets, the most comfortable fabric imaginable, and 4-way stretch for a flattering fit, we don’t just offer the best fitting scrubs for petites, but also provide our pants in tall sizes for those with longer legs.

What color scrubs do nurses wear from Poppy? We have every color of scrubs a nurse could need, including the ultimate ceil blue scrubs we associate with a traditional nurse outfit. 

When it comes to our scrubs, we’ve thought about much more than the vibrant colors we offer. Our water-repellent materials, mid-rise no-slip yoga waistband, and anti-wrinkle, breathable fabric make these the most comfortable, durable scrubs you’ll ever find.

Final Thoughts on the Different Colors of Scrubs

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand the different colors of scrubs that are available, and what they mean in a healthcare setting. What color scrubs do nurses wear? While light blue scrubs are common among nurses, many nurses are free to choose a scrub color of their preference.

At Poppy, our core scrubs are available in a wide range of vibrant colors to suit your style. Plus, our tops are available in two different cuts, and our pants in three, making it easy to find comfortable, flattering scrubs that fit exactly how you need them to. 

Get the scrubs you deserve at Poppy! 

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