As another step toward patient safety and satisfaction, clinical staff members of Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region hospitals are wearing designated colors to help visitors better know who’s-who.
Color codes are designed to make it easier for patients and other hospital personnel to identify nurses and to distinguish between aides, nurses and unit clerks.
Pat Halfman, patient representative for St. Margaret Health – Dyer and Hammond, said the policy, which was effective in June, has been well received by patients.
“Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard several family members comment on how many nurses we have, or, even if we have hired more – that they never saw so many nurses here before,” she said, adding. “When I explain that we have the same staff, but it’s now easier to see who the nurses and aides are, they just scratch their head in disbelief.
I also have heard several patients comment they can tell the staff is proud of what they do and have great teamwork.”
Other patient satisfaction surveys echo the same sentiment.
Color codes include:
- Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses — dark navy blue, midnight blue. They may wear solid white scrub-type uniforms alone or in combination with navy blue tops or bottoms.
- Patient care technicians, patient care externs, medical assistants, technicians, paramedics who assist nursing staff – dark cranberry, wine.
- Unit clerks – sandstone, khaki.
- Staff in areas that require hospital-issued and laundered scrubs — ”ceil blue” scrub-type uniforms.
“We were excited to join such health care industry leaders as Cleveland Clinic and the University of Michigan Health System as we standardized our uniform colors and have already received patient comments related to the standardized uniform colors improving the professional appearance of our staff,” said Carol Schuster, Franciscan Alliance regional chief nursing officer. “We also expect that the color standardization will allow physicians and patients quicker recognition of our staff that in turn will improve our patient safety and quality.”
Linda Kraiko, Franciscan St. Margaret Health senior director of patient services, agreed. “The new uniform policy is a win for both our patients and the hospital. The patients and their families can identify who is a nurse, versus a patient care technician or a clerk,” she said. “The staff can be identified at a distance rather than having to look for a badge. This also enhances the communication between our patients and staff.”
Trish Weber, vice president of operations and chief nursing officer at Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City, also praised the policy.
“In part, the standardized uniforms were implemented in response to patient feedback/confusion about caregiver roles, in addition to similar standardization taking place at our sister hospitals and hospitals across the state,” she said, adding, “We are very excited about our new standardized uniform colors as patients and their family members are now able to more easily identify nursing from other support staff, which facilitates improved patient communication and care and enhances the professional image of nursing.”
Besides Franciscan St. Margaret Health, other hospitals in the region include Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Crown Point, Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Michigan City and Franciscan Physicians Hospital in Munster.