Doctors Should Stop Wearing White Coats

I stopped wearing my white coat regularly about four years ago. I get questions from people at work about it all the time. Most commonly I get asked why it is that I don’t wear one. I admit, it might be easier for me if I did–and occasionally I will put it on, usually for an important meeting, or when I want to have a more authoritative role with a particular patient. A white coat makes a physician more recognizable as a doctor, and has big pockets, so a doctor can carry his or her important papers, reference books, and of course their cell phone.

That being said, I absolutely hate wearing my white coat. I have two of them, and find them to be a terrible nuisance. They get ring around the collar after one wearing, the smallest size could house a small football player, and can cause someone to be 10 degrees warmer, especially in a hospital where the air conditioning is unreliable, and the heat too high.

Also, and definitely most importantly, white coats are disgusting, and I mean that in a clinical way. White coats have been banned in the U.K. since 2007. While it is not clear whether the bacteria on white coats actually causes more infections in patients, to me it doesn’t matter. It gives me one more reason to not wear my white coat. Wearing one doesn’t make me a better doctor.

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4 Comments on “Doctors Should Stop Wearing White Coats”

  1. Fatin Girgis Says:

    I guess if you can get by not to wear one then don’t, if I go to a doctor visit and he or she is not wearing a white coat I wouldn’t care as long as they dressed really well and neat.

  2. nilu Says:

    if the dietician, nurse manager, nurse practitioner, chaplain, pharmacist, and physical therapist stop wearing white coats, I will start wearing mine again.

  3. another MD Says:

    Well, uhm, it should be washed after each and every wearing that involves contact with a patient, or is anywhere in a hospital….which is also what should be done with any clothes worn in a hospital.
    -another MD

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