Apr 24, 2017
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I read a few posts about females' experience with wearing a head covering in the OR, the posts however were pretty old and I am wondering if anyone has any comments regarding this topic. I am interested in hearing experiences and solutions on both the patient front and the medical provider front. Are hospitals required to accommodate for a female requesting a head covering in the OR, and what options do they have.

Thanks
 
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Ismet

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I don't have personal experience with this but it will very likely vary by institution.

There's a physician at my institution who wears a "surgeon's hood" instead of the cap: Surgeon Hoods
 
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I read a few posts about females' experience with wearing a head covering in the OR, the posts however were pretty old and I am wondering if anyone has any comments regarding this topic. I am interested in hearing experiences and solutions on both the patient front and the medical provider front. Are hospitals required to accommodate for a female requesting a head covering in the OR, and what options do they have.

Thanks

Plenty of women who do it, never an issue.
Don't know the patient's perspectives, although going into patient rooms with them isn't an issue aside from whatever prejudices people have in the first place.
In our OR's women who wear a hijab all wear a headcover similar to what a man with a beard would wear -- it wraps around on the side of the head and under the chin (not sure if that description makes sense...) with the hijab underneath. I'm not sure if the hospital is "required" to accommodate but I'm sure they would without any problem if something wasn't available.
 
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strider144

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At my school you can't wear street clothes under you scrubs if you're going into an OR. A classmate was given the option of bringing in a specially sterilized hijab (and then cover that with something appropriate) and putting a warm-up jacket on over her scrub top to keep covered before gowning up.
 

mehc012

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At my school you can't wear street clothes under you scrubs if you're going into an OR. A classmate was given the option of bringing in a specially sterilized hijab (and then cover that with something appropriate) and putting a warm-up jacket on over her scrub top to keep covered before gowning up.
That's incredibly dumb sounding. Is there any actual evidence to support this? If the hijab is sterilized, why on earth would she need another covering over it? People wear their surgical caps around all day and it's no issue, and the hijab covers *more* than that.

I love the OR, but I hate how much perioperative crap seems like hazing, happenstance, image and tradition, instead of actual evidence-based practice.
 
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paradoxofchoice

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One of my co-residents wears an Al-Amira hijab. It's two piece. She takes the top covering off and puts on sterile cap on top of her bottom covering. It doesn't cover her neck though. She wears regular scrubs which bare half arms. Very rarely, patients don't want her, most patients love her.
 

strider144

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That's incredibly dumb sounding. Is there any actual evidence to support this? If the hijab is sterilized, why on earth would she need another covering over it? People wear their surgical caps around all day and it's no issue, and the hijab covers *more* than that.

I love the OR, but I hate how much perioperative crap seems like hazing, happenstance, image and tradition, instead of actual evidence-based practice.
In my hospital, you wear a cover over a fabric cap, too. So it's consistent.
 

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That's incredibly dumb sounding. Is there any actual evidence to support this? If the hijab is sterilized, why on earth would she need another covering over it? People wear their surgical caps around all day and it's no issue, and the hijab covers *more* than that.

I love the OR, but I hate how much perioperative crap seems like hazing, happenstance, image and tradition, instead of actual evidence-based practice.
I'm sure there can be a way to culturally respect someone and make sure the patient is safe (the latter is more important than your feelings). Unfortunately there isn't evidence for everything in medicine. I mean I disagree w the last post saying better off not wearing it at all - that's stupid and disrespectful, but in the OR following policy is usually for the patients safety.
 

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To be completely frank, you're better off not wearing it at all in the hospital. Patients will judge you on everything, and they will judge you on the head covering. Several guys in my rotation group have been told by their patients to cut their hair because it's too long. One girl was told her top was inappropriate. Appearance won't substitute for being a good doctor, but it is very important.
There will be dingus patients. I could not care less as long as I remain professional.
 

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To be completely frank, you're better off not wearing it at all in the hospital. Patients will judge you on everything, and they will judge you on the head covering. Several guys in my rotation group have been told by their patients to cut their hair because it's too long. One girl was told her top was inappropriate. Appearance won't substitute for being a good doctor, but it is very important.
No one can please everybody. One should not compromise how they observe their religion because a small handful of patients might have an issue with it. As long as you conduct yourself professionally and appear professional, the issue is with the mindset of the patient, not with you.
 

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I'm sure there can be a way to culturally respect someone and make sure the patient is safe (the latter is more important than your feelings). Unfortunately there isn't evidence for everything in medicine. I mean I disagree w the last post saying better off not wearing it at all - that's stupid and disrespectful, but in the OR following policy is usually for the patients safety.
There isn't evidence for almost any of the perioperative bullcrap. But even if we go with the current 'screw evidence, what matters is covering everything"...there's no reason that a full, sterile, hijab shouldn't count as more than sufficient, given that it covers more than the current thin, non-sterile, non-entire-head-covering surgical caps.
 

mehc012

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ORs are weird.
 
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tymont12

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I like the OR but the dogma is crazy. The hospitals I rotate at require "OR floor scrubs only" with nothing underneath and demand that they don't leave the hospital, but then the surgical reps come in with paper scrubs over their street clothes and it's "okay."

I can't imagine a hospital would overtly deny religious requests
 
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Jul 30, 2017
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To be completely frank, you're better off not wearing it at all in the hospital. Patients will judge you on everything, and they will judge you on the head covering. Several guys in my rotation group have been told by their patients to cut their hair because it's too long. One girl was told her top was inappropriate. Appearance won't substitute for being a good doctor, but it is very important.
Wow.
 

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I read a few posts about females' experience with wearing a head covering in the OR, the posts however were pretty old and I am wondering if anyone has any comments regarding this topic. I am interested in hearing experiences and solutions on both the patient front and the medical provider front. Are hospitals required to accommodate for a female requesting a head covering in the OR, and what options do they have.

Thanks
You will be accommodated. It's just a matter of how. You might think you look funny with the beard covering cap, but if that's what the (non-evidence based) nursing expert at your hospital wants, that's what you have to do. I know one Muslim surgery resident who wore hijab. Seen many students too. Every institution is different, so you'll have to figure out what your ORs decide.
 

mehc012

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You will be accommodated. It's just a matter of how. You might think you look funny with the beard covering cap, but if that's what the (non-evidence based) nursing expert at your hospital wants, that's what you have to do. I know one Muslim surgery resident who wore hijab. Seen many students too. Every institution is different, so you'll have to figure out what your ORs decide.
Seriously, they should either base their decisions on actual evidence, or give up the word 'expert' in their title. Can't have it both ways. What are they an expert in, superstition and red tape?
 

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Seriously, they should either base their decisions on actual evidence, or give up the word 'expert' in their title. Can't have it both ways. What are they an expert in, superstition and red tape?
A lot of those nurses have doctorates in hippa, jacho, administration.

There's no high quality evidence for bouffants over caps at all.

There's no high quality evidence for covering your ears to prevent ear bacteria from going on the sterile field (this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard)

There's not even any evidence that wearing a face mask during surgery decreases the number of wound infections. Undereducated people look at you like you're crazy when you say that most infections probably come from the patient's own flora.

A lot of what we do in medicine is voodoo but when nurses with zero medical training are trying to establish rules, it's way worse.
 

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Seriously, they should either base their decisions on actual evidence, or give up the word 'expert' in their title. Can't have it both ways. What are they an expert in, superstition and red tape?
I use the word expert loosely
 
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mehc012

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A lot of those nurses have doctorates in hippa, jacho, administration.

There's no high quality evidence for bouffants over caps at all.

There's no high quality evidence for covering your ears to prevent ear bacteria from going on the sterile field (this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard)

There's not even any evidence that wearing a face mask during surgery decreases the number of wound infections. Undereducated people look at you like you're crazy when you say that most infections probably come from the patient's own flora.

A lot of what we do in medicine is voodoo but when nurses with zero medical training are trying to establish rules, it's way worse.
*sigh* I know. And I love the OR, and don't get me wrong, the rituals and the voodoo are a bit of the mystique. But to hell with mystique; can't we just do cool procedures and get it done right, without the hassle?

Most perioperative precautions are like TSA screening: an elaborate ritual surrounding an activity that confuses and worries most people, designed to take up enough time and effort that everyone is convinced that it must be accomplishing something, or else why be so strict about it? But actually achieving next to nothing as far as the stated purpose goes.
 
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Thanks for all your input!
Although I can see hospitals trying to be more accommodating for me as a med student and resident in the OR, I find it interesting that it doesn't seem that there is much accommodation granted for a patient who wishes to cover herself while she's being rolled around the hospital and frankly as long as she's awake. (I kinda say this from experience, I wear a scarf and when I went in to get a procedure done, the nurse looked at me dumbfounded when I asked for something to cover my head- she ended up giving me some towels which just confused the anesthesiologist!!)
 

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Thanks for all your input!
Although I can see hospitals trying to be more accommodating for me as a med student and resident in the OR, I find it interesting that it doesn't seem that there is much accommodation granted for a patient who wishes to cover herself while she's being rolled around the hospital and frankly as long as she's awake. (I kinda say this from experience, I wear a scarf and when I went in to get a procedure done, the nurse looked at me dumbfounded when I asked for something to cover my head- she ended up giving me some towels which just confused the anesthesiologist!!)
Probably depends on the location/culture of the area. Our area has a large Muslim community (both patients and physicians). For patients, women usually wear long patient gowns and the caps that cover head/beard when being transported to the OR (and wear hijab in their patient rooms). For female Muslim surgeons, I've seen some that do the beard cover and a T-shirt underneath scrubs. Some just wear the bouffant and regular scrubs, even if strict with hijab otherwise.
 

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The hood takes some getting used to - can be uncomfortable and distracting at first. Worth checking out though -
 
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