The real reason doctors wear blue scrubs

Sarah Carty
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer


Chances are, if you’ve ever seen anybody dressed up as a doctor for Halloween, they’ve more than likely been wearing blue scrubs that stand out like a sore thumb.

And whenever you think of doctors, nurses or surgeons in the hospital, you probably envisage their bright, sky blue or green outfit.

However, it turns out there’s actually a reason doctors in hospital wear either blue or green scrubs – and it’s not all to do with disguising dirt marks.

A curious member of the public took to Quora to ask why we often spot doctors and surgeons in coloured scrubs and some of the answers were pretty unexpected.

It turns out there’s actually a reason doctors in hospital wear either blue or green scrubs – and it’s not all to do with disguising dirt marks. Photo: Scrubs

One person claimed that scrubs actually used to be white for every worker in hospitals but they soon ‘fell out of favour’ because of they gave off a bright glare under the microscopic theatre lights.

He claims hospitals then switched to blue or green after that.

Another commenter said the colour blue is often associated with ‘depth and stability’ and can elicit certain emotions in a patient.

“It symbolises trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, and intelligence,” the commenter said.

Another nurse agreed with this statement, claiming the colour blue is ‘professional, yet approachable’, and makes people trust the doctor, ‘which is crucial when dealing with patients’.

A curious member of the public took to Quora to ask why we often spot doctors and surgeons in coloured scrubs and some of the answers were pretty unexpected. Photo: Getty Images

“Green and red are also complementary colors. Surgeons stare at red blood for hours. When surgery is done, looking up to green scrubs helps the doctor’s eyes transition calmly to their environment,” another person said.

One hospital worker commented saying that the colour of the scrubs doesn’t actually matter, and hospitals ‘use pink scrubs to discourage taking the scrubs home to use as pajamas’.

“There is also the factor that hospitals and clinics don’t want their scrubs ‘walking out the door’. It gets expensive to keep replacing them. So often a color is chosen which the administration feels will not be popular,” a person said.

Most hospitals also tend to use coloured scrubs to differentiate between the professions like clinicians, surgeons, nurses, lab-assistants, assistant-surgeons, pharmacists etc.

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