Colour coding scrubs as a means of improving perioperative communication

J Perioper Pract. 2011 May;21(5):177-8. doi: 10.1177/175045891102100505.


Effective communication within the operating department is essential for achieving patient safety. A large part of the perioperative communication is non-verbal. One type of non-verbal communication is 'object communication', the most common form of which is clothing. The colour coding of clothing such as scrubs has the potential to optimise perioperative communication with the patients and between the staff. A colour contains a coded message, and is a visual cue for an immediate identification of personnel. This is of key importance in the perioperative environment. The idea of colour coded scrubs in the perioperative setting has not been much explored to date and, given the potential contributiontowards improvement of patient outcomes, deserves consideration.

MeSH terms

  • Color*
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Perioperative Nursing*