Your team in the Emergency Department (ED) receives a call from your local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew informing you that they are transporting a patient with high suspicion of COVID-19 in severe respiratory distress. As you assemble your team in preparation for a Protected Code Blue (PCB), your staff (including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, etc.) begins donning full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE includes donning a gown, gloves, face mask, goggles and/or a face shield.

With several team members assembled in the resuscitation bay in full PPE, it can be challenging to identify specific individual members of the team and their role.

Trick of the Trade: Stickers to Identify Team Members in Protected Code Blues

The simple use of stickers indicating the roles of team members can help to identify individuals, preventing confusion in what can be an especially stressful situation. The need to identify members of the team is amplified in a PCB as members are all wearing similar PPE that can disguise them.


  • Sticker labels
  • Marker or printer


  • Individuals can simply indicate their role on the team using a marker to write on the sticker label.
  • We recommend keeping labels as simple as possible (DR, RN, RT, PA, MA, EMT, etc.).
  • Pre-printed labels can be placed in the ante-room outside of the resuscitation bay so that team members can easily choose their own after donning their PPE.
  • Labels can be placed directly on the face shield, providing optimal visualization by all members of the team.
protected code blue

Pre-printed labels placed in the ante-room outside of the resuscitation bay


The use of personal protective equipment is necessary for the safety of staff members working in the ED, however it can disguise individuals. During protected code blues where several members of the team are involved, it is especially important to be able to identify specific members of the team and their role.

What do you think of this technique? What hacks have you used in your department? Tweet or DM @jshihmd your hacks to get featured. Also don’t forget to check out our other COVID-19 tricks!

Jeffrey Shih, MD, RDMS

Director, Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship Program
Scarborough Health Network;
Editor, Ultrasound for the Win Series
Academic Life in Emergency Medicine


I'm Director of Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship @ TSH ER Doc @UofT @SickKidsNews. Author of @Yale @MayoClinicEM Alum. LITFL & @ALiEMteam Editor