Does it matter what a doctor wears? A simple search on ‘doctors attire’ yields many studies and words of opinion but yet no consensus.
As background, electrophysiologists seem most comfortable in those ubiquitous blue or green hospital issue scrubs, most commonly accompanied by tennis shoes. Maybe this is a right given the long hours of standing with lead aprons to shield from the radiation exposure. Even when “dressed up” most doctors of rhythm don themselves in dockers pants, some dockers-like shoes and a dated collared shirt -laughable really.
It was a day to present Grand Rounds at my hospital, which still holds to its conservative Baptist roots. This noontime presentation to my colleagues mandated the old charcoal suit, red tie and blue shirt. The suit was used for residency interviews in the late 1980’s. Grin! On the cardiac unit, the noisy black shoes announce my presence and a senior partner stares at me with astonishment and says, “Mandrola, what is this, you are embarrassing me.” I laugh and after this solemn week, a grin feels really good.
In the office with new patients who know not of my costume the suit seems to help. Coincidentally the day brought two unusually challenging patients and in both cases there was a surprising acceptance of my opinion. Outside the room afterward I think to myself, wow, that went better than expected. So, did the prop that is a conservative, republican-like suit and reading glasses facilitate the delivery of a complex plan of treatment? Perhaps, but likely unknowable with any degree of certainty. This notion of a costume as a prop seems akin, to when my former nurse practitioner would tell me before seeing a particular patient, “you will want the white coat for this.”
One discovery is certain: those pointy black shoes are not for standing and walking all day. Ouch.
Lab work monday, so thankfully back to scrubs and tennis shoes.