Patients generally prefer doctors to wear nametags, white coats, and visible stethoscopes – a study confirms it recently in US.
The new findings agree with a study published in June that showed most patients want their doctors to wear traditional attire rather than more casual outfits.
It’s been said that no previous studies have addressed this topic.
The current study, which is reported in The Southern Medical Journal, involved 496 patients who attended a private or academic family practice clinic in Knoxville. At clinic registration, the patients were given a questionnaire regarding their attitudes toward physician appearance.
Patients rated a nametag, white coat, and visible stethoscope as the most desirable attire. In contrast, sandals, clogs, and tennis shoes were considered the least desirable clothing items.
In general, people younger than 40 years of age were more tolerant of nontraditional physician attire than were older patients. Similarly, academic clinic patients were more tolerant of casual attire than were private clinic patients.
“In a clinic where many doctors practice, patients like to know who they’re talking to,” Dr. Keenum noted. “I think that is why wearing a nametag was rated so highly. This might also explain, in part, why white coats were popular since the doctor’s name is often printed on the coat.”
She added: “One surprise finding was that patients preferred female doctors to wear dress pants rather than a skirt.”
Does the desire for white coats also mean a preference for scrubs? No, Dr. Keenum said. “Patients really didn’t like their doctor to wear scrubs, but this attitude was much stronger among private clinic patients than among those who attended the academic clinic.”
- Southern Medical Journal.