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From Pastels and Neutrals to Darks: A Guide to 9 Medical Scrub Shades

26 February

From Pastels and Neutrals to Darks: A Guide to 9 Medical Scrub Shades

The healthcare industry got revolutionized, when they adopted a medical scrub, color coding system across all the healthcare facilities. Color coding medical scrubs allow patients and other professional staff to recognize each other. When healthcare industries started using colored scrubs, the entire staff of healthcare facilities got assigned colors according to departments, then according to their job descriptions within their respective departments. But with so many colors on the spectrum, how do healthcare facilities decide what colors to assign departments and it's staff?

Color psychology indicates that each color on the spectrum has a meaning and effects our mind, health and behavior. Let's see what the most common 11 colors assigned in medical scrubs mean.

1. White

White is the oldest and most traditional color used for medical attire in the healthcare industry. Not only has white always been used because of its clean and sterile appearance, but the color in itself means, clean, angelic and pure. However, the biggest reason why wearing white went out of commission was largely because it stains easily. Every drop of blood, liquids and other bodily fluids are clearly visible for all to see. This made you look unhygienic and dirty. Even after laundering, because some stains leave a mark, white medical scrubs tended to look dirty even after being washed and sanitized. As a result, you would spend more money replacing new scrubs after just a few washes. While white medical scrubs were once commonly seen across all healthcare facilities, today you pre-dominantly wear them in high-end, clinics and mental health facilities.

2. Black

When it comes to clothing, whether its uniforms or personal attire, black is the sleekest and most stylish color. Not only is black a slimming color, you can also pair it well with every color on the spectrum. In the healthcare industry you can get assigned black colored scrubs in adult departments for sophistication and class. You can also wear black medical scrubs to cover up residual stains of blood and other bodily fluids that do not entirely go away even after washing and sanitization. Black is also a color of confidence and it can make you feel confident even when you get anxious.

3. Purple

In the medical industry, purple is a color that catches the eye. It is a color that is often associated with power and luxury. It is also the color that is associated with dignity, wisdom, creativity, independence, magic and mystery. Even though purple moderately affects the mind of people, if you get assigned purple medical scrubs then patients and their families could subconsciously lean towards finding you ambitious, knowledgeable, and powerful.

4. Red

On the color spectrum red is the color that can easily evoke and influence your mood and behavior. Associated with powerful emotions such as love, hate, anger, strength, danger and determination; red is a color that can easily elevate your blood pressure. Red can enhance human metabolism, as well as, increase respiration rate. Because red signifies danger, it is a color that catches the eye the fastest and can evoke strong emotions of fear and anxiety amongst patients that are nervous or scared. Generally pediatrics and geriatrics are the two major departments that red is not used in, as both the elderly and the children can easily get triggered by it.

5. Green

Amongst all the colors of the spectrum, green is the color that is the most comforting. Found in vast quantities green is commonly used to represent nature, fertility, growth and abundance. It is a gentle, invigorating and relaxing color that can calm your mind and body. By wearing green colored scrubs you can easily help the anxious and scared patients feel calm. Green colored medical scrub, can also calmly make patients try out treatments that they might be hesitant towards.

6. Yellow

On the color spectrum yellow is a color that is recognized by the brain faster than even red. This is why yellow is the color commonly used for school buses and taxis. It is the color closely associated with sunshine, brightness, energy and joy. The healthcare industry often uses yellow colored medical scrubs in the pediatric and geriatric departments in order to create a positive and bright atmosphere for the patients so they do not get scared.

7. Brown

The color brown, on the color spectrum has always been associated with traits of dependability. It is also the color that represents resilience and reliability. If you get assigned medical scrubs in the color brown, you might get perceived as dependable, strong and honest. While wearind brown colored scrubs some people might associate you with possessing a dull and predictable personality; others, however might consider you more mature and dependable. In the healthcare setting wearing brown might not garner you much attention, but you would psychologically be considered honest by your patients.

8. Grey

On the color chart grey is a color that is related to depression. Despite being neutral color, that represents neutrality and balance; professionals usually avoid wearing grey as it can make patients sad. If you are however assigned to wear grey a cheerful attitude might be able to compensate for the psychological effect caused by grey. Apart from being a neutral color, grey might also represent conformity, indifference, old age and uncertainty. In an environment with the sick people all around, the psychological effects of grey might cause the patients to feel disheartened and melancholy.

9. Blue

Often pairing well with red, blue is a color that is in contrast to red despite being a primary color itself. Blue is associated with tranquility, warmth, compassion and communication. If you get assigned blue medical scrubs, you might get perceived as idealistic, sincere, imaginative and flexible by your patients. Since blue is also associated with regality, your patients and their families might consider you as someone that would be sympathetic to their plight and concerns. This might gain you extra attention when your patients and their families have questions and concerns.


The medical industry is dedicated to helping and healing the sick. They do this not just by providing services and medicine, but by also influencing their minds. The colored scrubs you are assigned to wear can have a great impact on what your patients think about you and how they feel. The correct colored scrubs cam make your patients open up to you. Medical scrubs in different colors can make your patients psychologically accept difficult treatments that they might be scared of initially. Whether the shades and tones of your colored medical scrubs are light or dark, you can wear them to help your patients get better and start enjoying life again.