Personal tastes and the hot colors of the moment are the last things you should be relying on when choosing the color of scrubs, if new data published by JAMA Surgery are any indication. Researchers at the University of North Carolina Medical Center in Chapel Hill showed patients photos of male and female clinicians wearing black, light blue, green, and navy blue scrubs to find out if a particular color was associated with surgeons in the minds of patients (it’s green, as it turns out). The findings of the electronic survey revealed much more than that, though. Patients were also asked to rank which clinician struck them as the least knowledgeable, least skilled, least trustworthy, and least caring. Males and females dressed in black were perceived as the “least” in all four categories by a wide margin, followed by those dressed in green scrubs across the board. Both genders were perceived as most likely to be caring when shown in light blue scrubs, while navy blue scrubs on both males and females gave the impression that the provider would be most likely be knowledgeable, trustworthy, and skilled. It’s not just the color of scrubs that leads patients to form a first impression, however. Personal style choices in general may give patients highly subjective ideas about a member of the urgent care team. For more on that, read Image Check: Impact of Employee Appearance on the Patient Experience in the JUCM archive.
True Blue: The Color of Your Scrubs May Be Influencing Patient Expectations