What Is Code Gray In A Hospital? Understanding Hospital Environments

What Is Code Gray In A Hospital

Medicine is one of the most complex professions; thus, it needs a lot of commitment, time, and studying to get in. 

The result of intense education is doctors and nurses constantly working around the clock to treat and care for their patients. 

Hospitals are even more complicated, there are often thousands of patients in big hospitals, and it might get confusing to deal with all emergencies. 

This is why hospitals use the color code system for emergencies; let us look at each one and what it means;

What Is Code Gray In A Hospital?

Code gray is used when there is a violent or aggressive patient in the hospital. There is a highly trained hospital response team that the staff can call to resolve aggression in the hospital; they are called the code gray team. 

This team helps maintain a safe and healthy working environment for the staff and other patients.

Hospital Emergency Codes 

Community emergency codes have become more colorful and, the medical department will add more codes as time goes by. 

The entire medical community uses a standard system of emergency codes to communicate certain high-risk situations.

Standardization means that nurses and other support staff need to learn a set of codes once and use the same one regardless of where they work

This system helps minimize confusion since a small mistake in a hospital could cause a dangerous delay in response to an emergency.

Medical professionals need to understand a situation and remedy it as soon as possible. A delay of 30 seconds due to a misunderstanding could cost a patient their life, so they need a straightforward way to communicate. Here are the new emergency codes used in the US;

Code red

This code is a fire alarm, indicating that all visitors should calmly move out of the hospital. Do not take out any very sick patient; instead, call the nurses who disconnect the equipment.

Code Blue

This is any medical emergency that involves an adult patient. In most cases, a patient was admitted to the hospital, and they got unstable, thus requiring immediate attention.

Code White

This code is a medical emergency with an infant or pediatric patient. This means the subject is between 0 and 18 years of age.

Code Pink

This code means that an infant has been abducted, mostly a newborn or a child under two years.

Code purple

This code implies that a pediatric patient has been abducted from the hospital. Codes purple and pink often go with an amber alert to notify civilians and get information on the child’s possible location.

Code yellow

This code is an extreme alert that comes up if there is a bomb threat in the hospital. All patients, visitors, and staff must get out of the building and move as directed by the available emergency service crew.

Code silver

This means a person has a weapon in the building or a hostage situation. The best thing is to go to a safe place and wait for directions from the police, nurses, or hospital security staff.

Code orange

This code means there has been a hazardous material spill or if someone has been exposed to it. The best thing to do is calmly get out of the affected area or move to quarantine if directed by the staff.

Code green

This code is for a patient elopement, which means that a patient leaves without being discharged. Often they are not fit to go, so it is best to report it to the staff if you encounter the patient.

Code triage

This is the code when there is a major internal or external threat. You will get directions on what to do in such a situation, and your cooperation is crucial in disarming the situation.

If you want to report an emergency in a hospital, dial 18 on the house phones, and you will get through to the security office. 

Speak calmly and report only the essential details, don’t hang up, stay on the line until the receiver hangs up.

Etiquette For Nurses And Doctors

Etiquette is a big part of human society, and it becomes even more critical when you are in a hospital dealing with stressed-out patients. 

Etiquette is not taught in any nursing curriculum, but it is crucial in taking care of patients and helping them feel safe and get better.

It would help if you looked at etiquette as a vital part of your code of conduct around the hospital. 

There are two important rules you have to follow, smile and greet. When a patient goes into a hospital, they expect the staff to be smiling and pleasant.

A smiling face is more reassuring and comforting than a grumpy one. Smiling is contagious, and it will make the patient more relaxed and put them in a better position to talk to you, which will, in turn, make your job easier.

It might not always be easy to smile, but it is better to fake a smile than look grumpy. The patient will probably be friendly to you, and you will feel better at the end of the day knowing you helped someone.

You can greet patients by words, actions, or even both. Use simple greetings like good morning or good afternoon, depending on when you meet the patient.

 If it is a local hospital, you can use a less formal local greeting to make a connection with your patient.

You can greet by whatever actions work in your area, shaking hands, bowing, putting your palms together, or any other form of physical greeting. 

A greeting makes patients feel like they are important to you and you care about them; it’s not just a job for you.

Greetings and etiquette are more critical when dealing with children since they might not understand your grumpiness. Often kids see an angry adult, and they believe it is their fault; don’t put this pressure on a child.

Acknowledge them and treat them as children, not regular patients; find a way to get down to their level and talk to them calmly with a bit of excitement like you enjoy their presence. You can appear casual to make a kid come down, but don’t do the same with an adult.

Your physical appearance matters because it suggests a lot about your skill and personality to the patient. 

Try to look neat at all times, even when tired, so the patient feels safe in your hands. Adopt a good posture that shows discipline and commitment to your patient.

How Should Medical Staff Act Around Patients?

The way a doctor or nurse behaves around a patient is almost as important as the medication they provide. 

As a nurse, you must remember that the patient has feelings, problems, and emotions; thus, your behavior should be appropriate to the situation.

When a patient is in the vicinity, your jokes and laughter might be offensive to them. Try to be warm, friendly, and polite. 

Smile, greet the patient, make enough eye contact and be gentle with the patient physically and in speech.

Never raise your voice on a patient, especially a child. No matter what is going in, always try to be reasonable and professional. Don’t bite your nails, scratch yourself or do anything suggesting you are not paying attention.

Help as much as you can since there is no harm in going out of your way to help someone. Don’t forget your manners; when the patient is in a room alone, give them their privacy and knock on the door if you want to go in.

Knock gently and wait for a response. If you are going into a room together, open the door for your patient. When leaving a room, close the door gently as you walk out of a room.

When you meet a patient, make sure you introduce yourself since it is a significant part of building rapport. 

When giving instructions, be gentle but precise, don’t get angry when the patient asks questions since it’s better to confirm.

Never hesitate to apologize when the need comes up. Before a procedure, give the patient a detailed explanation of how the process goes and what they should expect. 

If you don’t know something, tell the patient you will get back with an answer, don’t give a wrong response. 

Don’t talk negatively about yourself or other people in the hospital or the hospital itself with the patient.


Code gray is used when there is a case of aggression or violence in the hospital. A support team is present to help disarm the situation and keep everyone involved safe. There are more codes for different situations, and they help speed up personnel reaction.

Being a nurse or doctor is a tremendous responsibility, and it needs a lot of selflessness. To be a good medic, you need to put away your feelings, anger and plans to take care of the patient and give them your full attention when on duty.