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Mayo Dress Code

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by MDT, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. MDT

    MDT Member
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    I just got accepted today to Mayo Medical School! I have heard that Mayo has a very strict dress code, and that the doctors wear suits, no white coats. Does this mean that I should start looking for bargins on suits/business clothes now? Do the med students wear a short coat, or does everyone wear business dress?

    Can any current Mayo students shed some light on this?
     
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  3. carrigallen

    carrigallen 16th centry dutch painter
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    It depends if it is fast food or gourmet.

    Fast Food = Dressing of mayo applied quickly and haphazardly

    Gourmet = Dress with low, delibrate strokes across the bread, apply evenly, do not use Miracle Whip!
     
  4. CaptainJack02

    CaptainJack02 let's stir and shake
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    Does anyone else find this a tad disturrbing? Medicine isn't a business - its a profession. The white coat has been for years a symbol of healing and whatnot. The dress code would "symbolize" the movement of medicine towards becoming a business.

    Not that it really matters - it's not like i'm gettin in there anytime soon :rolleyes:
     
  5. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    Yes, all the doctors wear suits as do students during patient care (except where scrubs are more appropriate such as on-call or in the OR). You'll definitely need a suit fairly quickly first year.

    I can tell you that the suit has been the symbol of healing at Mayo for as long as the clinic has existed (~100 years). I don't think it's going to change anytime soon.
     
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  6. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    And for the ladies?

    Do the pediatrics folks dress any differently? At Duke, pediatrics tends to be a white-coat-free zone to avoid terrifying the wee ones, but the dress code is pretty casual as well: you can get away with bright colours, funky rainbow socks and so forth. Any chance of that at Mayo?
     
  7. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    When I did research at Mayo and visited the hospitals all the physicians wore suits....I did not see anything "funky" or too bright...but I did not meet any pediatricians.
     
  8. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    What about the wearing of things considered alternative? Such as male earrings, dyed hair (non-normal colors), noserings, or visible tatoos? Just curious.
     
  9. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    The requirement is 'professional dress' but it does not go into detail so woman definitely have more lee-way. There are definitely male staff physicians with earrings and long hair but not many. There are some female medical students with strangely colored hair (I have yet to see any doctors or residents like that but certainly there are lab techs and administrative staff or others that don't spend time in patient care). They really push a professional look for anyone involved in patient care. Even the out-patient pediatricians wear suits although often complemented with funny socks or ties.

    Tattoos generally get covered up by a suit, but I'm sure certain people have them. I do know of one medical student that was asked to cover up a tattoo on his arm which was visible when he was wearing scrubs into the OR (even though the tattoo would be covered up by the operating gown anyway). But I think this is just more an old-school-surgeon kind of thing rather than a Mayo thing...many of the nurses and techs are a bit more liberal with their dress and 'accessories' (at least liberal for rural Minnesota).
     
  10. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    Would you say that the dress code translates into a more formal atmosphere overall at Mayo? Suits always make me nervous.
     
  11. Trajan

    Trajan Senior Member
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    Good for Mayo! I'd like to see more medical schools following its lead in this department.

    I think it's great when doctors and nurses adhere to more formal and dignified dress codes. And, you know what, patients often appreciate this sort of appearance too, particularly older ones (who occupy a disproportionate number of hospital beds). Medical students should be held to this more conservative standard of appearance from day one of M1 on.

    -- Hoping to be a old school general surgeon someday, but with kindness and charm.
     
  12. ForceField

    ForceField Impervious
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    My roommate matched at Mayo! Whoopee!! :D
     
  13. carrigallen

    carrigallen 16th centry dutch painter
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    I'm confused..are you aware that almost all medical school require a white coat with a shirt/tie underneath?

    Usually patients prefer the virtue/integrity expressed by the clean white coat, but the business suit conveys a commercial aspect to medicine, which some might find undesirable.
     
  14. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    There's also a practical aspect: I like my white coat because it has so many pockets. I can cram all kinds of good stuff in them: my stethoscope, reflex hammer, various guidebooks and cheat sheets, and of course snacks.

    And it's far easier to wash than a suit would be (though I've never been able to get out the benzoin stains from my surgery rotation).
     
  15. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    I'm not sure what you mean by backwards. The do use the old-school method in which the scrub nurse gloves you. They always start with the left hand since that's the way the Mayo brothers did it. The suit thing is really for the same reason. The Mayo brothers wore suits and asked that all the physicians dress professionally.

    It's not about business, it's about professionalism. People wear suits to weddings and funerals as well and I don't think it's to express a business attitude. It's different and can by annoying at times, but at least everyone looks professional (albeit often the same). The customers...uh, I mean patients...seem to love it.
     
  16. 12R34Y

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    I also wish that more school and hospitals would make people wear suits! it looks very very professional and in my experience it really increases the confidence that the patient has in you.

    besides.........white coats get all nasty and yellowish and stained. at least suits are usually dark and and you can't see that stuff.

    later
     
  17. ericdamiansean

    ericdamiansean High Profiler
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    Quote from a doctor:
    When the dressing goes, so does the behaviour..and then the speech

    My university's private..so, there are a few brats who come in wearing very unconventional stuff..
    guys with multiple earings, the one where it's so huge it makes a huge hole in your lobe
    a gal has her black hair partly dyed purple..
     
  18. 12R34Y

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    I couldn't agree more!

    suits equal class and professionalism.......hands down
     
  19. Goober

    Goober Senior Member
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    Hmm I think suits are fine for business attire, but the vast majority of american hospitals use white coats and ties which I think is entirely appropriate and is associated with being a doctor by public perception.

    Mayo is very hands off since they have ancillary staff that does IV, caths and all the scut. But in most other hospitals you have to do that yourself as a med student and getting a expensive suit dirty seems rather silly. If wearing suits in the hospitals conveys show much more class and professionalism, than why has nobody else adopted this policy?
     
  20. MSTP boy

    MSTP boy Senior Member
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    I agree with the other posters. Mpp is a nice guy, but even he has trouble defending his school's tradition.

    Wearing a suit is not appropriate for most hospital work. It is restrictive and limits range of motion. Above all, it is impractical.

    My understanding is that Mayo dresses in business attire to impress their patient customers, and maintain their image.

    I, for one, would not want to be examined by an intern who is more concerned with keeping his suit clean than doing my physical exam.

    They complain it is difficult to learn anything at Mayo, since the procedures are always done by the next level up (ie attendings do what fellows should, residents fill the role of medical students, and medical students just shadow).

    Mayo might look pretty on a CV, but I'd rather have someone who actually got his hands dirty instead of a guy who spent 3 years prissing around with a suit on a team with 15 fellows.
     
  21. 12R34Y

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    It's amazing how many excellent physicians come from Mayo year after year...........especially since all medical student do is shadow and residents do med students jobs etc......

    come on......you're kidding me right.

    there is a reason people fly from all over the world to go there.

    it definately isn't because they don't learn things there.
     
  22. Kaptain Krunch

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    I think it is better to wear white coats instead of suits for hygiene reasons. We were taught by the Microbiology Department that white coats are there to protect both the patient and the doctor. White coats can be a source of infection, especially if they are not regularly cleaned. Being white, it becomes very clear that a white coat is not being washed.

    With a suit, I am worried about infecting patients (especially with MRSA, unless Mayo is too good for MRSA). Dry cleaning bills are expensive and I'm sure that the suits would not be cleaned as often. Having a doctor in a suit is no comfort to a patient with an MRSA infection.

    Of course, there are other practical reasons for white but they have been covered already.
     
  23. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    It seems as if suits restrict your range of motion greatly and are a pain to clean repeatedly. Im hoping that most people at Mayo decide to wear scrubs? Those seem WAY more hygenic and allow for greater motion. Plus, they're more comfortable.

    I think there are some jobs where I could wear a suit all day (business or anything where I sit down all day and don't move around much), but medicine seems a bit too physical and active to wear a suit.

    And even though it is a Mayo tradition to wear a suit, there are a ton of other traditions as well that have gone the way of the dodo due to being inefficient or outright dangerous. At least scrubs are an option though, and I would imagine if most people are like me, they would prefer that over wearing a suit.
     
  24. liquid magma

    liquid magma Member
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    Fellas,

    I am going to go out on a limb here...but, I have a vague inkling that Mayo Clinic does not offer an annual White Coat Ceremony for its first year students.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  25. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    No, most people wear suits. When in the out-patient clinic (which makes up the vast majority of the Mayo Clinic) professional dress is required for attending physicians, residents, and medical students. Nurses typically wear scrubs. Even in procedure-heavy clinics like gastroenterology and urology, the physicians wear suits and just cover themselves with a clean gown when doing an endoscopy, cystoscopy, etc.

    In the hospitals on rounds and in day-to-day patient care, all doctors and medical students wear suits. In places like the emergency department, the ICU's, whenever on call, obviously in the OR, most everybody wears scrubs. For infectious patients there are clean gowns at the door to the room so that you can don those before entering and discard into the dirty laundry when leaving the room (probably more hygenic than a white coat). There are white coats available all over the place and some do choose to wear those at times (perhaps after they've stained their suit with something) which you can then toss into the institutional laundry at the end of the day.

    I'm not sure who is complaining about the difficulty learning things, but I haven't heard it from any medical students or any residents here that I have worked with. And there are hardly 15 members on any team. Even the 2nd-year medical students work in teams of one or two with an attending physician when on their hospital service.
     
  26. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    No...no white coat ceremony. They do have something akin to that during a parents weekend during the first couple months of school. Instead of a white coat they give you a plaque...
     
  27. isosceles

    isosceles New Member

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    I think that people who are skeptical of the suit setup should take a tour of mayo. Perhaps one reason they are viewed differently compared to many institutions is that they aren't afraid to do things differently. This was elaborated on in a Feb'03 Harvard business review article titled, clueing in customers.
     
  28. efex101

    efex101 attending
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    Anyone who has actually visited the Mayo Clinic *knows* what it stands for. You only have to go there and see it and that is whay people from all over the world go there for treatment...
     
  29. USFOptho

    USFOptho Senior Member
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    Last time I checked, money was still transacted from patient to doctor....a customer buying goods from a provider....whether it's money in the US, or chicken bartering in africa (fun!), it sounds like a business to me...
     
  30. Kaptain Krunch

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    That's fine with already infected patients but it's much better to prevent patients being infected when they come into hospital. This requires regularly cleaned lab coats and hand-washing between patients.
     
  31. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    Unless you are cleaning your lab coat between each paitent I don't see a difference.
     
  32. tofurious

    tofurious Senior Member
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    For patients requiring isolation, everyone -regardless of whether you're wearing a suit or a white coat- requires gowns, masks, and gloves. Even then, you can easily count the uncovered areas and calculate the theoretical risk of infection. The only fool-proof way of preventing infection is to have a whole body wash before and after each patient. Even then there are other modes of transmission.
     
  33. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    So how many suits do people end up buying then?

    It seems as if you would have to dryclean your suits everyday or risk bringing an infected suit home. Do you just leave all your suits in a locker at the medcenter? It must get quite expensive that way.
     
  34. isosceles

    isosceles New Member

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    Exactly, it's in a small town surrounded by corn fields, and the weather there isn't exactly charming. How many other top rated hospitals are in non-metropolitan areas?
     
  35. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    I'd be less concerned with the infection risk than with practicality and appearance. After all, my white coat is hardly sterile by the end of the day, but I do wash my hands regularly and don a gown when there's a MRSA risk.*

    But my white coat does get visibly besmirched regularly, and it's lovely to be able to just chuck it in the washer at night -- gotta love those tough poly-cotton blends, even if they feel kind of icky. A suit, however, would be much more of a pain to deal with. I guess I'd have to rely on multiple copies and frequent trips to the dry cleaners.

    I actually like the idea of doing a residency in a place surrounded by cornfields, and the weather would be an interesting, um, challenge. But the dress code worries me. Mayo sent me a picture-filled brochure for fourth year visiting student rotations. Everyone was wearing suits and look all formal, business-y, and noticeably smug -- absolutely not my kind of place. Yet I'm aware that promotional brochures often do a bad job of capturing the spirit of a place, so I guess I'll just have to check it out for myself if they interview me for a residency.



    *Interestingly, Duke has a policy of gloves and sterile gowns for all known MRSA infections, regardless of source. The VA hospital across the street had a similar policy but discontinued it in favour of gloves and sterile gowns for MRSA open wounds only. The rates of MRSA infection at the VA actually went down significantly.
     
  36. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    I agree that suits put off the air of professionalism, however my aim in being a physician is to appear approachable, caring, AND professional. A suit is a little intimidating . . . scrubs/slacks and a button down shirt and a clean white lab coat present the appearance of someone who actually does the dirty work. Besides it is also the image most people have of doctors. Personally I would flip out if my cardiologist walked in wearing a 3 piece suit instead of slacks, a shirt with rolled up sleeves, and a loosened tie. I always have to echo the issue of practicality . . . wear am I supposed to put all my junk! (besides heels are sooooo not a good idea for an 8 hour shift).
     
  37. 12R34Y

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    I went to a great EM conference the other day and the speaker talked on professionalism and how you should dress nicely....etc..

    His institution did a study and people overwhelmingly perceived doctors who were in suits/ties to be more compotent and preferred them for their care (especially older people)..

    last time i checked MOST of just about every specialty sees a TON of old patients.

    One of the reasons they cited is that EVERYONE wears some sort of white coat and most people aren't aware of the heirarchy of lengths of coats etc....

    x-ray techs where scrub, RT's=scrubs, white coats, nurses where scrubs sometimes white coats (maybe short ones).....ekg techs etc...

    people have no idea who is coming in to see them without an introduction.

    However, I guarantee you that if someone walks in in a suit that they KNOW that is the physician as NO one else in the hospital who sees patients will ever be wearing one.

    Go suits!!!

    later
     
  38. periodic

    periodic Senior Member
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  39. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    Thanks for the link. It's an interesting article in many respects. The idea of an environment designed to be soothing is nothing new, of course -- most hospitals are attuned to this. But this kind of thing scares me:

    "Mayo Rochester employee Mary Ann Morris, the administrator of General Service and the Office of Patient Affairs, often tells a story about her early days with the organization. She was working in a laboratory?a job that required her to wear a white uniform and white shoes?and after a hectic morning getting her two small children to school, she arrived at work to find her supervisor staring at her shoes. The supervisor had noticed that the laces were dirty where they threaded through the eyelets of Morris?s shoes and asked Morris to clean them. Offended, Morris said that she worked in a laboratory, not with patients, so why should it matter? Her boss replied that Morris had contact with patients in ways she didn?t recognize?going out on the street wearing her Mayo name tag, for instance, or passing patients and their families as she walked through the halls?and that she couldn?t represent Mayo Clinic with dirty shoelaces."

    If that attitude is pervasive, I'd have a hard time working there! But I'll have to check it out for myself.

    Oddly, the article talks about the Mayo uniform of business attire rather than casual or white-coated as analagous to the dress code for airline pilots, arguing that customers don't want to see pilots in polo shirts. Yet a white coat is very much a uniform, and is hardly the equivalent of a polo shirt. Note too that the article consistently refers to Mayo's "customers." That may be due more to the editorial bent of Harvard Business Review than to Mayo itself, but it's still intriguing.
     
  40. omores

    omores sleep deprived
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    Just curious: did the study specifically address suits, or did it also include shirts + ties (i.e., without suit jackets)? And in contrast to what: was it suits/ties vs. white coats, or suit/ties vs. casual dress? And what about for women?
     
  41. IndyXRT

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    I did a rotation at Mayo Clinic. I actually found that wearing a suit coat was much more comfortable than wearing a white coat. There was no temptation to overload the pockets, for one. And as far as cleanliness, I think I was more encouraged to cover up with a fresh gown while wearing a suit than while wearing a white coat. I know that in my medical school, many students (and even some interns/residents) will walk around with white coats that obviously have not been washed recently (if ever). I liked the professional atmosphere that the dress code at Mayo Clinic created. Just my two cents.
     
  42. Gauss

    Gauss Damnit Jim!
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    now realistically this thread only needed 3 or 4 replies to answer this guy's question.
    but u screwballs
    oh god u screwballs
    you had to go and generalize all this to professionalism, infection control, and dress standards of pilots

    let them do whatever they want
    They are MAYO after all
     
  43. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I'm a resident at Mayo and I was skeptical about the business attire before I came here, but I can now tell you that it does seem to make a difference. Some residents jokingly call it the "Superman effect." You put the suit on in the morning and you really FEEL like a doctor at the Mayo Clinic. I think it also has a subtle effect on the way people relate to each other too. I did my internship at a "anything goes" county hospital where nurses and allied health staff could be very disrespectful toward physicians. That doesn't happen at Mayo. Dressing well raises the bar for professionalism. And, the patients LOVE it. Survey after survey reveals that one of the things that the patients always rate highly is the professional appearance of physicians. They really come to expect that their doctors look well-dressed and well-groomed.

    Dry cleaning gets expensive, but it is nice to have a professional wardrobe. It carries on to other aspects of your life. I recently came back from a conference where I had reflexively just packed a suit not thinking much of it. I was one of the few people at the conference in a suit and people seemed to treat me differently.

    We do wear scrubs on call and post-call. White coats too. And, like most places, the neurologists still wear bow-ties...
     
  44. 12R34Y

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    i love hearing from people who are actually AT mayo say how much the patient "LOVE IT".

    i just hope the rest of the world's medical schools catch on the what mayo already understands.

    FYI: The speaker at the conference I attended did a "survey" of patients over a certain time period in their ED..........the only info i have from it was what he told the crowd that day.

    later
     
  45. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    something to consider: I really think patients responses to the whole suit issue has a lot to do with what region of the country you are talking about. being from california, the land of business casual, its hard for me to image doctors in suits when I see CEOs running around in something less.
    I was also wondering, do ER docs and OBGYNs wear suits at Mayo? Those are two specialities that I just can't imagine suits being practical for. Personally, I'm happy for all of you who like wearing suits, but I'm really looking forward to my life in scrubs.
     
  46. drusso

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    OB/GYNs were suits in the clinics and the Consultants (we don't have "attendings" we have "consultants" per the British system) and on rounds. ER docs where scrubs at work and since they don't have clinics they don't where suits---except for administrative meetings which once again defaults back to the suit and tie rule.

    Being from the West Coast myself---UC Berkeley---I found it a little difficult to adjust, but I've now been indoctrinated into the "Mayo Way" and probably will wear a suit when I return to the west coast.

    Other "Mayo-isms": Reflexes and muscle strength are graded from -4 to +4 with zero being normal; that took forever to get used to. There is absolutely, positively *NO* scutwork. In fact, scut work is actively discouraged. Everything is HIGHLY specialized and task-specific---IV start teams, foley start teams, NG teams, etc. Almost no LVNs---every nurse is a RN and most are BSN's. Staffing is exception with few nurses ever more than 1:2-3.

    And, Mayo is almost a completely electronic environment. There are no charts in the clinic and the hospitals are supposed to be paperless by 2006. Everything is dictated, transcribed, and available online! Kind of cool for us techno-geeks...
     
  47. celticmists18

    celticmists18 california dreaming
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    it's all making sense now . . . clinic=suit, hospital (my domain)=scrubs. That makes a lot more sense. FYI: There are other hospitals/health groups that are paperless and are heading toward paperless. I'm not at liberty to say exactly who, but its one of the biggest health care providers in Norcal.
     
  48. sjkpark

    sjkpark Senior Member
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    Ever heard of "white coat hypertension??"

    I study in New Zealand (New Zealand citizen) and at my school nobody wears them. I've seen two so far who wear them during ward round, but never in out-patient clinics.

    The rules are simple: theatre/ED/ICU - scrubs. Outpatient clinics - street clothes (usually shirt and tie, jacket can get quite hot!). For MRSA, burns patients etc, white gown that gets thrown into laundry DIRECTLY after the doc has seen the patient. At least my school has been doing this for yonkers.

    I was really appalled to see a guy wearing scrub home inside a New York subway station - now that's unhygienic.
     
  49. Back34

    Back34 Senior Member
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    Precisely why I get completely nude when doing patient interviews.
     
  50. Gauss

    Gauss Damnit Jim!
    10+ Year Member

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    ahahahahha
    I'm trying to picture a berkeley, osteopathic, hippie at Mayo

    hehe
    not trying to categorize you - it's just a great visual image

    ahhhhhh.....
    that made my day
     
  51. drusso

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I'm actually pretty conservative *LOOKING*; but I do sense from time to time that I'm a bit more radical thinking that your average Mayo resident physician. I once heard someone summarize the whole "Mayo Culture" as the product of what one might have expected if Republicans were in charge of the Soviet Union during the cold war...
     

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