With the variety of scrub uniforms in different colors, patterns and designs worn by healthcare personnel in hospitals and clinical settings, it can be difficult to know who is taking care of you.
At Mercy Medical Center – Centerville employees now are color-coded by department and job, according to a new professional appearance policy. Since May 1, all clinical staff is required to wear solid-color scrubs in a designated color, with a solid neutral colored shirt of black, white or gray while clinical managers are required to wear a lab coat.
“We are very pleased with the result of the new dress code,” said Ann Young, vice president of Mercy Experience. “Walking the corridors today, you will see that all of our staff has taken this seriously and are proud of their new look.”
Young said the policy has many advantages, including enhanced patient safety by allowing patients easily to identify which department an employee belongs to. It also improves the professional appearance of staff and promotes staff morale.
The dress code was announced in November allowing employees six months to make the transition. During that time a team of Mercy employees including Jackie Kelly, RN, Chris Kanselaar, Sheila Kauzlarich, RN and Stephanie Coughlin, DPT championed the initiative called Mercy Proud. They educated all staff about the dress code and why the change was important to advance a professional appearance and promote patient safety.
To assist the staff, the group hosted a uniform vendor on site that made the purchase of new scrubs convenient for staff.
With the change to new scrubs, many employees have uniforms they will no longer wear but are still in good condition. As a mission project, Kauzlarich, an emergency room nurse and the current Mrs. Iowa is leading an effort at the hospital encouraging employees to make a charitable donation of their old uniforms to new nurses getting started or to hospitals serving in poorer countries where scrubs are in short supply.
“Boxes are being set up at the hospital during hospital week where we can drop off our old scrubs, helping others in our profession who don’t have the resources or don’t have adequate uniforms, “Kauzlarich stated. These donations will be given to Indian Hills for their graduates or to Global Links, a charitable medical relief agency who promotes sharing of still-useful medical surplus.