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The Devaluing of the White Coat?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by SeminoleVesicle, Mar 30, 2012.

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  1. SeminoleVesicle

    SeminoleVesicle MS4 5+ Year Member

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    I think the white coat is a great symbol for medicine and science and the White Coat Ceremony is an important moment for future doctors. However, it seems these days that many scientists, psuedo-scientists, and everything in between are wearing white coats and this sort of detracts from the symbolic value of the white coat. For example, I've seen the photo developer at my local pharmacy and people working at the teeth whitening kiosk at the mall wearing white coats. Anyone else agree? Where is the strangest place you've seen someone wearing a white coat?
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
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  3. capn jazz

    capn jazz 7+ Year Member

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    Some teachers at my school wear white coats to avoid getting chalk on their clothing...
     
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  4. CodeBlu

    CodeBlu Van Wilder Lifetime Donor 5+ Year Member

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    During my time spent in Chicago, I saw some serious tools walking around Michigan Avenue wearing their white coats. They were residents at NMH...

    The institution of the white coat was to save some face with the general public. Up until about 120 years ago... most doctors were quacks. Shady training, blood letting, lobotomies etc.

    White coat = scientist = objective = face of medicine
     
  5. octupus

    octupus inside a lobster suit! 2+ Year Member

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    waiters at 111 Chophouse (Massachusetts) serving me my steak They were more like scientist lab coats though.

    I can understand others in health care wearing white coats though. At least this way you can see if they have any sort of splatters and it keeps their clothes clean. At the end of the day when they have to get in their car and drive home, they can just leave their coat at work and have it laundered there.. I don't see this as devaluing the white coat or why it should be reserved for physicians only.
     
  6. ppfizenm

    ppfizenm 2+ Year Member

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    I am all for physicians getting tribal facial tattoos to distinguish us.
     
  7. SeminoleVesicle

    SeminoleVesicle MS4 5+ Year Member

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    +1
     
  8. Shakespeare37

    Shakespeare37 WINNING 2+ Year Member

    The white coat (or length of it) doesn't mean much to the average non-medical person these days. I've been to a lot of clinics, private practices, etc., where docs are just dressed in business attire, and the only people who wear scrubs or white coats are lab techs, NP's, and PA's. It seems to me the lower on the proverbial totem pole people are, the more they want to advertise their status.
    I don't think, however, that this holds true in hospitals. I think there the length of the white coat and the 'white coat hierarchy' (ie, the longer your white coat, the more senior you are) still holds for the most part.
    I laugh at people that wear scrubs or white coats outside the hospital, the same way I used to laugh at soldiers who wore their uniforms around town. If you feel the need to advertise your status, I think it means you are compensating for something.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
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  9. biggiesmallsiz1

    biggiesmallsiz1 Banned

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    lmao, first world problems.
     
  10. phltz

    phltz 5+ Year Member

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    Laboratory workers were the first to wear the white coat, because it put a barrier between the various caustic/colored/poisonous substances they were working with and their clothing. Physicians started wearing white coats about a hundred years ago in an effort to seem more scientific and knowledgeable. Physicians are in no place to complain about various lab workers wearing white coats. They just aren't. If they really want to have their own distinctive thing, they need to come up with their own thing, not steal someone else's and then complain when the original wearers are wearing it.

    Jesus, this is like the idiots who claim that America is a white country, and what are all these American Indians doing here. They were here first. You're the Johnny Come Lately. It makes you sound like a fool to complain about this.
     
  11. TheGloaming

    TheGloaming 5+ Year Member

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    Aren't some soldiers required to wear their uniforms on certain days?
     
  12. CodeBlu

    CodeBlu Van Wilder Lifetime Donor 5+ Year Member

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    My personal fave...

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  13. SeminoleVesicle

    SeminoleVesicle MS4 5+ Year Member

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    I'm not complaining at all. I'm just saying it's kind of silly for the photo developer at the Walgreens to be wearing a white coat. I couldn't care less haha. Scientists and physicians alike are entitled to wear a white coat, I'm just making an objective observation.
     
  14. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor 2+ Year Member

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    The white coat was most devalued by this recent medical school phenomenon called the White Coat Ceremony.
     
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  15. Shakespeare37

    Shakespeare37 WINNING 2+ Year Member

    Most soldiers are required to wear it to work (ie, on post). According to most regulations, (which can actually vary by the post you are at) you are not supposed to wear it around town. The general rule of thumb is you are allowed one stop to/from work in your uniform. If you are gonna be out and about longer than that, you are supposed to change.
     
  16. ppfizenm

    ppfizenm 2+ Year Member

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    I don't usually agree with you but when I do it's because your right.
     
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  17. octupus

    octupus inside a lobster suit! 2+ Year Member

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    Entitled? hmm, not sure about the choice of word

    Not familiar with photo development, but if they have to handle developing solutions, it could provide some sort of protection? If my job required specific attire, I would choose to throw on a white lab coat than a bright blue or bright red costume.
     
  18. ppfizenm

    ppfizenm 2+ Year Member

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    A science major in my school used to wear his to class everyday.
     
  19. Joe the Plumber

    Joe the Plumber Banned

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    Who cares. It's all about the two letters after your name. It's not hard to go to a hospital and see someone wearing a white coat, with "Jane Doe, RN, BSN, MSN, FAAN, WHOCARES, ANOTHERIRRELEVANTCREDENTIAL" on it. But informed members of the public want to see a doctor. Once you have MD/DO, you can wear a purple coat with yellow stripes, elvin shoes, and a rainbow clown wig, but you're still a medical doctor which trumps every other credential.

    Now, for those patients NOT informed, we might have a problem. Some people associate the white coat with medical doctors, and might be seeing a nurse practictioner and think they're seeing a doc. That's a valid concern.
     
  20. KnuxNole

    KnuxNole Sweets Addict 10+ Year Member

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    I notice that attendings don't wear white coats, while residents, students, dieticians, etc. wear them.
     
  21. SeminoleVesicle

    SeminoleVesicle MS4 5+ Year Member

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    Yeah and the guys at Chick-Fil-A are exposed to hot cooking oil.

    I completely agree that the white coat ceremony devalues the coat. I think it's a funny observation that the photo tech wears the same coat as a doctor but it doesn't bother me in the least.
     
  22. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 1 5+ Year Member

    LOL, then why on earth did you create this thread?
     
  23. catzzz88

    catzzz88 Purrrrrr!?!11?? 5+ Year Member

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    To retract from this problem you mention, I propose that we go back to an even more respected symbol: the symbol of the plague doctor. We will no doubt be respected if we all work to enact a new uniform for the doctors of the new age:

    http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0209/plague-doctor.php

    The beak was a protective device to save the doctor from the unbearable infected stench. The beak was filled with medical herbs to ease the breathing process. The mask had two vent holes and glass inserts to protect the eyes. The doctor was also wearing a long waxed raincoat and leather or thick fabric clothes to help him avoid flea bites and physical contacts with patients. The wand was used to take the pulse of the patient to confirm death.

    Who's with me? :D
     
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  24. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 5+ Year Member

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    I would be lying if I said I wasn't.:D
     
  25. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    But if you can't smell the patients, is it really a clinical encounter?

    And as for the issue of first world problems.... I was thinking that when I was in a very poor country in South America in the 1970s, all the school kids wore lab coats as school uniforms; they were called something that might be translated at "dust guards".
     
  26. littlefaster

    littlefaster

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    :laugh:
     
  27. willen101383

    willen101383 10+ Year Member

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    As a former (well im credentialed for life) clinical lab technologist we were REQUIRED by our accreditation agencies (JCAHO et al) to wear white coats at all times when handling potentially infectious fluids. Thats why lab coats are worn. You think I want some patient's serum landing in my lap? Hell no. Laboratorians and scientists were the first to wear the coat as someone else mentioned.

    Its funny to me how premeds are the ones who bitch about this entitled crap. Ya know, the people who havent even set foot in medical school yet. :laugh:
     
  28. ppfizenm

    ppfizenm 2+ Year Member

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    So are over reaching generalizations :laugh:
     
  29. NeuralNetwork

    NeuralNetwork Pass the BDNF 2+ Year Member

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  30. Cinclus

    Cinclus Es un pájaro. Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    I would use my lab coat as a blanket while sleeping on public transportation or in certain classes.
     
  31. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet 10+ Year Member

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    Who cares, I haven't worn my white coat (or anything other than scrubs) in the Hosp since last may.
     
  32. sibitrum

    sibitrum Newbie 5+ Year Member

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    Agreed. Let's give this coat to people who just walked off the street and don't know anything about medicine (MS1s).
     
  33. HoltMD

    HoltMD Banned

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    I gave my white coat and my stethoscope to a student pharmacist. They are required to have those. :smuggrin:
     
  34. mmmcdowe

    mmmcdowe Duke of minimal vowels Gold Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    The authority and value of the white coat is in the person wearing it.
     
  35. tantacles

    tantacles Lifetime Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Let me be the first to say that it's a ****ing white coat, not a sports uniform or anything significant. I think everyone in this thread is taking doctor fashion a little too seriously.

    The white coat is valuable because it keeps fluid and solid off of your nice dress clothes. That's it.
     
  36. HoltMD

    HoltMD Banned

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    Like my hair stylist? :D
     
  37. sam500

    sam500 5+ Year Member

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    I dislike the idea of white coats. I feel they separate doctors from their patients. As a status symbol I find them pretentious and the fact that their is a ceremony to commemorate their dawning is utter foolishness.

    I think most doctors and pre-meds could do with a dose of humble pie rather than another reason to feel superior.

    I'd prefer the population at large look on their doctors as people, flaws inclusive. If we strive towards a future of openness and transparency with our patients to better engender trust, then getting rid of the white coat would be a useful and symbolic step.

    In addition, as a teacher, I'd expect a doctor to lead others with charisma, charm, and personality (a first among equals with their students) rather than through officiousness and status browbeating. The fact that white coats come in various lengths to perpetuate a "ranking" system is terrible.

    I do appreciate the various pockets however.

    We'll see how I feel after I'm an MD as well. However, having been through a PhD program this idea of obtaining an MD implying greater status or esteem feels foreign to me and leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
     
  38. HoltMD

    HoltMD Banned

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    I'm not going to ask. :laugh:
     
  39. tantacles

    tantacles Lifetime Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Poop, skin, limbs
     
  40. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I wear my white coat on the inside.
     
  41. Camy99

    Camy99 5+ Year Member

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    My mom is a Director of Nursing so she gets to wear a white coat. In fact nurses in general get a white coat ceremony too, at least at my school.
    As much as I respect nurses, I don't get this.
     
  42. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    At least the nurses are no longer required to wear little caps some of which were identical to those worn by British housemaids in the early 20th century.
     
  43. ussdfiant

    ussdfiant Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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  44. CodeBlu

    CodeBlu Van Wilder Lifetime Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Your sig is amazing.
     
  45. Chip N Sawbones

    Chip N Sawbones Ship's Carpenter 5+ Year Member

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    Why white? Doctors should wear red coats like the old-time British soldiers so bloodstains don't show.
     
  46. MT Headed

    MT Headed snow, PBR, and bears Lifetime Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Agreed. And med students should wear brown pants on test days.
     
  47. mvenus929

    mvenus929 10+ Year Member

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    Only in academic hospitals. In community hospitals, white coats mean next to nothing, since everyone from the phlebotomist to nurses to the physicians can be wearing one.

    I remember watching a movie that involved someone in residency once and commenting to my dad (who is a nurse) about how the length of her white coat was off (it was about the size of a med student's white coat). He said it was appropriate and was a 'consultant' coat.
     
  48. willen101383

    willen101383 10+ Year Member

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    :confused:

    Wut?
     
  49. Praefectus

    Praefectus MS-0

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    Honestly, I feel like scrubs are a little more ubiquitous for doctors.
     
  50. gettheleadout

    gettheleadout MS-3 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    You are on a roll.
     
  51. sliceofbread136

    sliceofbread136 5+ Year Member

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    My god this thread is stupid. There is no value in a white piece of cloth and a cat could wear it for all I care.
     

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