Hospital-wide dress code?

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So I was at work the other day. I think it was the weekend (I can’t remember). I happened to notice a physician making rounds on a patient (in this case, not part of my assignment). What the physician wore rather startled got me thinking. I’ve seen physicians (PCP, specialists, surgeons, etc.) come in for their daily rounds (weekend, holiday, weekday, etc.) wearing something ‘other’ than what you would expect.

I’m not talking about just the absence of the ‘traditional’ white coat. I’m talking anything and everything. Everything from jeans and a polo-like colored shirt, an exercise outfit, a sundress, or a wrinkled pair of OR scrubs. These ‘outfits’ are either worn as you see them, or some will actually wear the ‘white coat’.

I only bring up this irky (and possibly sensitive) subject due to the most recent articles and headlines regarding the push for uniform standardization within our nursing ranks. Some hospital systems want to go back to the tried and true ‘white’, while others are looking for a ‘national’ uniform. Debate and conflict is a-muck. I’m not here to squabble about patient satisfaction scores related to the color of our nursing uniform. I think the quality of your care cannot and should not be determined by a uniforms color.

I am here to bark a lil about a uniform though. (Maybe bark isn’t such a good word?) Why do the physicians get a pass? They are representing a health care profession aren’t they? Nope, not here pointing fingers on who’s better or worse. Not gonna talk about who’s more important and more vital on a patient’s health care team. I’m just wondering why there isn’t a standard?

A basic standard of presentation is my thought. Call it or label it what you want, but wearing clothing not suited for your professional duty and more suited for ‘play’ doesn’t seem to bode well in my book. Maybe I’m overstepping my bounds, and maybe I’m bordering on insulting certain professionals, but where do we draw the line?

I guess I want to know why there isn’t some sort of attempted equality.

I mean lets think of it this way, would they let any other health care professional show up in the hospital and work in those types of outfits?

I doubt it.

I look forward to you thoughts on this one.

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4 Responses to Hospital-wide dress code?

  1. lizzy

    I’m not sure on this issue. No doctors here (Australia) wear white coats, most about the age of 45 wear pants, business shirt and tie while most under that age wear neat casual (and yes, often involving jeans). As a nurse at my hospital I’m just supposed to wear black pants and a white top (again, neat casual but with guidelines). However, when I work in the psych areas nearly everyone (doctors, nurses, social workers etc) wears completely casual clothes (I’ve even seen cargo shorts and runners). I like the idea that it shows everyone on an equal footing, rather than doctors in suits and nurses in scrubs, but I think it could also be seen as a but untidy and unprofessional. Hmmm…needs more thought…

  2. Sean Dent

    @ lizzy Thank you for your thoughts and input. I agree with the ‘air’ of being unprofessional.

  3. Lee

    As a patient in my early 40s I find the traditional white coat a little “scary” (for lack of a better word). I guess, if I’m totally honest, I prefer doctors to be dressed in business casual or scubs.

  4. Sean Dent

    @Lee Thank you for your input. It’s good to hear it from the patient’s point of view.