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pharm B

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So I've been arranging some shadows since we're on break between semesters. One of the hospitals' residency administrators called me and set everything up beautifully.

At the end of the phone call, I asked if she had a preference for dress code. She said slacks and a polo shirt would be alright. Then paused... "you can wear a tie, too. A tie would look nice."

Another pause. "Do you own a labcoat? If you do, feel free to wear that, too."

I never once brought up the issue of tie or labcoat. Am I going to look like a tool to the first-year intern I'm shadowing?
 

mmmcdowe

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You should wear the tie. I would bring the labcoat, but leave it in your car. You can ask the intern about it.
 

justdoit31

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I agree with the above poster- I didn't wear a labcoat in the hospital but I used one in the general physicians office (borrowed from a PA) and at times she would let me wear hers- that was the best one!
 
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cbrons

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So I've been arranging some shadows since we're on break between semesters. One of the hospitals' residency administrators called me and set everything up beautifully.

At the end of the phone call, I asked if she had a preference for dress code. She said slacks and a polo shirt would be alright. Then paused... "you can wear a tie, too. A tie would look nice."

Another pause. "Do you own a labcoat? If you do, feel free to wear that, too."

I never once brought up the issue of tie or labcoat. Am I going to look like a tool to the first-year intern I'm shadowing?
You wouldn't look like a tool, however, you might look like a
.
 

pharm B

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You wouldn't look like a tool, however, you might look like a
.
:D Awesome. So then I should bring a stethoscope too? :p
 

mbe36

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No need to wear the lab coat. Plus, you are in the pre-white coat ceremony phase. :)
 

pharm B

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haha, I thought it was clever.
It was pretty good, dude. But now I'm on a mission to find a Craftsman stethoscope.
 

nlax30

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Definitely wear the tie, dress professionally, etc...

Bring the labcoat with you, don't necessarily have to wear it in but might as well have it with you, can always just ask whoever you're following what their preference is. When I shadowed back in high school and undergrad every place/person was different.....
 

qmcat

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It was pretty good, dude. But now I'm on a mission to find a Craftsman stethoscope.
Don't get a Craftsman stethoscope, they are uncomfortable... look for the Swiss Army one, it has a utility function that includes a retractable scalpel and hidden otoscope :thumbup:

But yea, I don't wear a white coat when I shadow. For me, it just feels more humble.
 

rama kandra

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tie = tool
 
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rama kandra

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2nded yoda is right.

and no clip on crap either. Real bow or go home.
 

chemnerd89

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I'd say the lab coat is a no-go.

I was once mistaken for a doctor at the free clinic where I work. I walk in to get a quick history and the guy drops his pants immediately to show me the the huge growth in his "groin area."

I'm not saying this is likely to happen to you, but it COULD. :laugh:
 

RoyBasch

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I'd say the lab coat is a no-go.

I was once mistaken for a doctor at the free clinic where I work. I walk in to get a quick history and the guy drops his pants immediately to show me the the huge growth in his "groin area."

I'm not saying this is likely to happen to you, but it COULD. :laugh:
This reminds me very much of a story I had when shadowing a dermatologist once. The doctor told me to wear a lab coat so that the patients would think I had a reason to be there [she described me ambiguously as a "student"]. That was all well and good until I walked into an exam room [doctor told me to go in while she went to get a file or something] and this old dude [his wife is there too] just pulls down his pants to show me this unpleasant-looking rash all over his butt crack :eek:. At which point I had to explain I was a "student" and the doctor would be in shortly...

so yeah moral of the story: tread lightly in a lab coat.
-Roy
 

halekulani

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no on the lab coat
no on the tie

look like you're someone who is not working there.
 

rama kandra

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dress and act like house

yes, cane included.
 

calnation

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If you're going to bring a lab coat you might as well bring an anatomy atlas too. See if you can spoof the intern! They love it!! :thumbup:
 
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154465

Wear what they told you to wear, don't spend too much time worrying what people are or are not going to think is OK. Apparently the lab coat is up to you, but make sure you wear the tie.
 

howelljolly

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This reminds me very much of a story I had when shadowing a dermatologist once. The doctor told me to wear a lab coat so that the patients would think I had a reason to be there [she described me ambiguously as a "student"]. That was all well and good until I walked into an exam room [doctor told me to go in while she went to get a file or something] and this old dude [his wife is there too] just pulls down his pants to show me this unpleasant-looking rash all over his butt crack :eek:. At which point I had to explain I was a "student" and the doctor would be in shortly...

so yeah moral of the story: tread lightly in a lab coat.
-Roy
The only reason why the attending that you are shadowing will require you to wear a lab coat is because they do not have authorization to allow a shadow, and/or they want to have you blend in, so patients don't wonder what you are doing there, and rat you or the attending out.

Unless they specifically require it, don't wear a lab coat. You are actually "legally" safer if you are clearly an observer (including a name tag IDing you as such).
 
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cpants

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If they ask you to wear it, wear it. If they give you the option or don't say anything, do not wear a lab coat.
 

Revilla

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I shadowed a doctor at his IM practice and he required shadows to wear white coats. If the administrator said to wear it, I would assume she knows what the doctor wants. Maybe take it with you and ask the intern to be sure, but don't just leave it at home after you've been told to wear it.
 

theacks1

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Personally, my shadowing always went 1st day, shirt and tie, 2nd day untucked shirt, no tie, khakis, shoes/sneakers. I also have a huge 1x3" badge with "volunteer" on it. Always best to overshoot on the first day and work your way down from there. I couldn't imagine a lab coat though.
 

flipz

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I shadowed a doctor at his IM practice and he required shadows to wear white coats. If the administrator said to wear it, I would assume she knows what the doctor wants. Maybe take it with you and ask the intern to be sure, but don't just leave it at home after you've been told to wear it.
I, too, wore a white lab coat when I shadowed. Mine was in a hospital setting, and the coat was by request of the attending. I think it's a matter of patient comfort; if everyone around me, checking out patients, is wearing a white coat and there I am, hovering around without one.. patients may feel uncomfortable with that.

But yea, do check with whomever is in charge for the final word.. :thumbup:

As for underneath the coat, I think a tie is overboard. A polo/button shirt and nice slacks/khakis should be fine.
 

Vihsadas

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It's funny to me that some of the shadowing programs in the US don't require the observer to wear a lab coat. It's an absolute requirement in the hospitals around my area. :confused:
Doesn't hurt to be prepared though. Might as well bring the lab coat. If you don't need to wear it, then don't. :)
 

niranjan162

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The only reason why the attending that you are shadowing will require you to wear a lab coat is because they do not have authorization to allow a shadow, and/or they want to have you blend in, so patients don't wonder what you are doing there, and rat you or the attending out.

Unless they specifically require it, don't wear a lab coat. You are actually "legally" safer if you are clearly an observer (including a name tag IDing you as such).

This is the best advice. I wore a labcoat when i shadowed because I didnt go through proper channels and get and ID badge or wutever (had to go through this trainning thing which they only had at certain times of the year). So i just wore the labcoat to blend in and prevent myself from getting kicked out.
 

doctor712

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tie is a must. i posted extensively about shadowing etiquette before. if you dont wear a tie, youll be the only cat making rounds without one. if you are shadowing, you are to look like whomever you are shadowing.

as for the labcoat, leave it at home, or in car. they have plenty at the hospital. ive ALWAYS been given one when required.

if you get to wear scrubs, even better. leave all valuables at home that day.

Doctor 712
 

theacks1

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tie is a must. i posted extensively about shadowing etiquette before. if you dont wear a tie, youll be the only cat making rounds without one. if you are shadowing, you are to look like whomever you are shadowing.
Does that mean I have to start wearing an ER Mullet whenever it's ER Mullet Attending's shift?
 
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Forbes

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This needs some clearing up. Nobody is going to think you are a tool if you wear a lab coat. People will think you are a tool if you act like a tool. I did not get any flak from the students, residents, anyone. Just remember that you are not even on the totem pole.

I wore a short coat when shadowing. The ER attending insisted that I do so patients do not wonder who that guy in the corner is. I suppose its based on institution, but I would bring one.
 

cpants

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This needs some clearing up. Nobody is going to think you are a tool if you wear a lab coat. People will think you are a tool if you act like a tool. I did not get any flak from the students, residents, anyone. Just remember that you are not even on the totem pole.

I wore a short coat when shadowing. The ER attending insisted that I do so patients do not wonder who that guy in the corner is. I suppose its based on institution, but I would bring one.
This is exactly why you shouldn't wear a lab coat. The patients assume you are a doctor or nurse of some kind, so they don't question your presence. The right thing to do is for you or the attending to explain who you are and why you're there, and let the patient have the choice of whether or not you get to see their history and exam. Your presence only helps you, not the patients, so instead of putting on a doctor costume and invading their privacy, ask permission.
 

Zona Pellucida

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When I shadowed I wore black pants, black shoes, a shirt and a tie.

I do have a lab coat and asked whether I should wear it or not (they didn't care either way) but I decided not to. The only people who wore them where I shadowed were the doctors and I felt that it was "their thing" and I would feel more comfortable dressed professionally as I am not an MD.
 

Forbes

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This is exactly why you shouldn't wear a lab coat. The patients assume you are a doctor or nurse of some kind, so they don't question your presence. The right thing to do is for you or the attending to explain who you are and why you're there, and let the patient have the choice of whether or not you get to see their history and exam. Your presence only helps you, not the patients, so instead of putting on a doctor costume and invading their privacy, ask permission.
I suppose you can forward this to the attending supervising me. I did what is asked, and if someone asks that you bring a lab coat, bring it.
 

dk33

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wow. I things really vary from hospital to hospital. Ive done alot of shadowing, and the only time I wasnt asked to wear a lab coat was in the OR. Everyone wears lab coats-from the med students up to the attending. If they told you to wear one, bring it. Worst case scenario, no one else is wearing one and you can leave it in some lounge. But why not just follow her directions, shes doing you a favor?
 

229141

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They've always told me just to wear scrubs :) Never shadowed in the office though..for that I would wear black dress pants, nice button up, black shoes, probably no tie unless they told me to wear it.
 

RySerr21

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You wear whatever they ask you to wear. Ive shadowed wearing scrubs and other times I was asked to wear slacks and a tie. When I volunteered at a clinic over the summer i just wore slacks, a nice shirt, and they made me wear one of their extra white lab coats.
 

Turtle01

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Yes. wearing a lab coat in the hospital when you do not work there, are not a med student, and are not a doctor, makes you a tool. I believe the OP will be O.K., however, because at least they realized the possibility that this would make them look ridiculous. See the ridiculous movie "Patch Adams" and his meat packing white coat.
 

ANF1986

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Have not been asked to wear a lab coat. Usually am requested to wear scrubs. It was interesting because when a patient asked who I was, the doctor responded "He's a student...," funny that someone else mentioned the doc they were shadowing did the same thing. I think that to explain to every patient that this person is not yet a med student, is still an undergrad, and is "shadowing" would be extremely CONFUSING to the patient and time consuming for the attending. You're there for an educational purpose so I think that telling the patient you are a student is sufficient enough and gives them the option to ask the student not to be present.
 

Steeler7588

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You should definitely wear a tie.

The only time I've worn a labcoat was when it was required by the hospital's education department. I didn't wear one any of the other times, partly because I never thought people did and also because I thought it'd give off the impression that I was a doctor. But I complied with this hospital's regulations and borrowed a friend's labcoat (he goes to VCU, and the hospital nearby also has this "labcoat while shadowing" policy). And just like I guessed would happen, people thought I was a doctor (the physician I was shadowing did a good job of explaining that I was a student following him around to patients, which doctors should). Regulations are regulations.

So in short, a tie for sure, but I wouldn't wear a labcoat unless they specifically asked you too. I guess keeping a labcoat and a student ID badge in your car just in case could never hurt, though.
 

fish89

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If the doc you're shadowing cares enough to actually ASK YOU to bring a labcoat, that definitely means you should be wearing it! Read between the lines here... if he didn't care he wouldn't mention it at all. Obviously, it means something to him, so make a good impression and wear one.

I wore a labcoat when I shadowed a doctor. I just told everyone I was a med student. Some assumed I was doing my clerkships, others called it an "externship" and a few actually understood the meaning of "premed." Ultimately, it doesn't matter. As long as you are in professional wear and with the doctor, patients give you some sort of respect as a tag-along healthcare professional. And you play the part by looking the part.
 
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