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What should doctors wear to work?

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 13 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2532
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. BMJ Careers

Tweed, beautiful heels, Superman t shirts, or sensible coloured shirts? Opinions vary on what doctors should wear at work, finds Abi Rimmer

“Appearances matter”

Simon Fleming, immediate past president of British Orthopaedic Trainees’ Association and specialist registrar in trauma and orthopaedics, says, “The question of what a doctor should wear has always been the start of a great argument. Should I wear a three piece suit, a white coat, or jeans? For that matter, should we cater to others’—patients’ or colleagues’—unconscious biases? Ignoring the sartorial implications, what I wear to work is evidence to many of my training, my tribe, and, one could argue, my clinical competency.

“Daniel Webster Cathell’s 1890 Book on the Physician Himself talks about how a doctor might demonstrate his competency. A lot of emphasis is placed on the quality of one’s appearance (a suit) and accoutrements (a walking stick with a silver head). I would suggest not much has changed in how we demonstrate our professional, and to …

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