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White Coat Lengths

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by i61164, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. i61164

    i61164 Polar Bear, MD
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    So how many different levels of white coat are there? Students have short coats and doctors have long ones, but I've seen different lengths of long coats. Some go down just below the butt, and some go down to the back of the knees. Is there any difference in rank? If you get really high up do you get a white "robe" that trails on the ground?
     
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  2. Critical Mass

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    Traditionally, med students wear a waist-length one (an "examination" coat); and I'm pretty sure that this is followed everywhere. It would likely be frowned upon if I were to have my name embroidered on mine (besides "Critical Mass" might be seen as unprofessional).

    Staff-length (below the butt) is for residents. At my place, they also have their names embroidered on them.

    Attendings can wear whatever they want. I typically see them with long ones on TV shows, but in practice, it seems to be preference-based.
     
  3. potato51

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    Hmmm... my school gave us name-embroidered full-length white coats. Should I be scared?
     
  4. Critical Mass

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    Only if you are rotating through the Parkland ER your first week as an M3 and somebody asks you to put in a chest tube.
     
  5. dilated

    dilated Fought Law; Law Won
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    It also depends on your size. Mine is too long so I'm apparently a pseudo-attending though it's the "exam coat". But even with that it's too tight in the shoulders.

    The ones that barely reach the waist are awful. It's like wearing knee high socks or something. :p
     
  6. Critical Mass

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    Also look for the number of handbooks/cheatsheets in the pockets.
     
  7. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    I haven't even been given a coat (MS0) and I'm already scared. Let's say that I'm scared that patients will assume I actually know something.
     
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  8. SeaBreeze12

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    We get short coats at MCG, my friend at Miami gets a long one...
     
  9. Agent Splat

    Agent Splat Viruses? Don't Exist.
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    at MCW the guys get white muscle shirts and the girls get white halter tops. but both have ample pocket space.
     
  10. potato51

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    *prepares self to explain why patient in room 163 has a tube in his vena cava*
     
  11. SoCuteMD

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    My school gives us embroidered ones. Mine is definitely NOT "resident length" but it does come down a little bit past my butt. At first I thought it was because I'm so darn short, but I realized that's just the cut of the particular coat they gave us. I actually like it - it's still CLEARLY shorter than other coats, but it's not quite as short and goofy-looking.
     
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  12. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    Mine halter top didn't have pockets! :mad: I think I'm gonna have to exchange it, or demand an additional one with pockets on it.
     
  13. Critical Mass

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    New avatar? I like it.

    I heard that they used to just give the girls sports bras, so it seems times have changed. :(
     
  14. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    Those were too cold.
     
  15. Agent Splat

    Agent Splat Viruses? Don't Exist.
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    thank you. i made it by accident.

    it was the pocket issue. plus the girls complained that the sports bras were too tight.

    Ashers, you probably don't have pockets because you requested the extra creavage style.
     
  16. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    Oh, is that why I got that then? Maybe I should have a more "professional" one to wear sometimes after reading that thread on hairstyles and how med students are dressing nowadays.
     
  17. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a
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    Here at my school we received full-length white coats during orientation week. Most doctors I know don't wear white coats at all - they either wear scrubs or the standard business casual...
     
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  18. colbgw02

    colbgw02 Delightfully Tacky
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    you'll still find occasional programs, particularly surgery or neurosurgery, where you have to complete multiple years of residency to get the long coat. i think duke may still do that with most or all of their residencies.
     
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  19. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    We do short coats for medstudents, but we don't get them until second year, well at least not via the official white coat ceremony, but we are requried to wear them when we give interview tours or go to the hospital, and since we are required to go to the hospital at least a few times during first year, we have all purchased one at the bookstore, . . . but we aren't allowed to wear one yet in the medschool until we are officially given it . . .are you confused yet cause I sure am . . .
     
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  20. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member
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    In miami we get full length coats since day 1 in first year, with name embroidered. We just buy them at the school bookstore or uniform store at the hospital whenever we want and wear them to all clinical sessions from the beginning. Only difference between us and residents visually is they have a ", MD" after their name on their ID badges. That and the clueless look on our faces...but since so many of our patients barely speak english, it doesn't make a difference anyhow. :laugh:
     
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  21. PreMedDocMD

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    Anyone know the "coat situation" in Yale/ Harvard/ Tufts/ Columbia?
     
  22. Critical Mass

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    The coats are so long there that they trail behind them like a bride's train.
     
  23. GATC

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    Yale, Harvard, and Columbia have small white coats for students..

    The attendings can wear what they want.
     
  24. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Senior Member
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    So... coats...

    Will I never enter a hospital again without a white coat? I'm so used to volunteering and shadowing in normal clothing. If I were to shadow a few docs during first year, would I wear a coat then?

    I guess I just don't know when you officially start having to wear a white coat.
     
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  25. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I would. Generally, after the white coat ceremony, any time you are going into the hospital in a situation where you are likely to be introduced to patients you should be wearing your med student costume - white coat and name tag (or else scrubs if the situation dictates). Patients are much more comfortable being examined and discussed if it's by someone not wearing street clothes.

    If you are just going to the hospital to eat at the cafeteria, do research etc with no patient contact, then no, you needn't wear the garb.
     
  26. Critical Mass

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    :thumbup: Agree big time here. I've seen some of my classmates in their white coats eating lunch in the cafeteria as M1's between classes. Extremely tacky.

    I personally believe that all white coats not worn as personal protective equipment should be burned, but since they make us wear them, keep it to when you're required to wear it.
     
  27. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum
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    I posed this question to my clinical mentor/attending. He told me that (at our institution) we were expected to be in our coats any time we meet a patient, even if it wasn't part of a structured clinical teaching experience. Shadowing & volunteer work that involves patients would count.
     
  28. dilated

    dilated Fought Law; Law Won
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    This is right. And just to make it clear that doesn't mean a white coat over your muscle t, that usually means a dress shirt and tie. Welcome to the machine.
     
  29. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    Whenever there's patient contact, bring your white coat. Sometimes, in an outpatient clinic, the doctor will tell you to take off your coat because it "makes patients nervous." (That's what they told me; I'm just quoting.) But definitely bring it, just in case.
     
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  30. emmd06

    emmd06 Member
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    A couple of additional variations that I found on the residency interview trail:

    Harvard - students wear short white coats, but so do many residents and even attendings. You see some old white-haired attendings walking around with short white coats. It's pretty funny. I was told it is because, "we are always learning." That made me vomit in my mouth a little bit. For residents, it mostly depends on your department for short vs. long white coat.

    Many Chicago programs - students wear short white coats, residents/fellows wear long white coats, attendings wear long gray coats. There's also a Chicago program where residents wear a pretty rank brown-colored coat.

    What annoyed me most as a student was wearing those lame short white coats when all levels of techs (including, for example, "teen volunteers") wore long white coats. I mean, come on.
     
  31. LJDHC05

    LJDHC05 Former Chicken Slayer
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    My first year peds preceptor told me to leave mine at home. I still feel like I'm playing dress up.

    In the hospital the short coat just means "please ignore me, I'm useless and actually paying to be here"
     
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  32. Critical Mass

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    "And I better damn well have a smile on my face about it!"
     
  33. potato51

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    I've only worn mine once, for taking patient histories for 1st semester ethics. Other times you're not really encouraged to wear them.
     
  34. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse
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    See, I wish that this were true for me too. During MS1, I was shadowing a doctor in the hospital, but she had to see a patient who was in isolation. So she told me to wait in the hallway. As I was waiting, this very elderly woman in a wheelchair sees me in my white coat, and beckons me over to her. She pulls me down towards her and says pleadingly, "Doctor, please, I need help. Please, please help me. I need to use the bathroom. Please help me find a bathroom."

    A nurse comes running over at this point, and says "Oh, Mrs. Jones! You have a catheter in you. You just pee into the bag! INTO the bag, Mrs. Jones, into the bag! You don't need a bathroom!" She starts wheeling Mrs. Jones away, but Mrs. Jones starts clutching frantically at my sleeve, saying "DOCTOR! Please!! Help me find a bathroom! Please! Doctor, help me!" She keeps pulling at my coat until the nurse finally wrenched her away.

    Damn white coat.

    (This is a true story, by the way. The resident that I was shadowing saw the whole thing, and had a hard time controlling her own pee because she was laughing so hard.)
     
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  35. LifetimeDoc

    LifetimeDoc EM Attending
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    Maybe she had to empty her bowels?
     
  36. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member
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    I think the way it works is that the really old attendings get coats that would drag on the ground so they have medical students walk behind them holding them up....j/k, obviously...but I would not be too surprised....

    actually, there is one doc here who is like THE shiznat.... i won't say a name, but he is VERY highly regarded.... anyway, he wears old tennis shoes, 80's jeans, and a polo all the time.... so I guess your white coat gets longer around here until you finally blast through the roof and could wear a speedy without anyone caring.... As for me, I wear my short white coat like everyone else.... I call it my "doctor costume"
     
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  37. Dakota

    Dakota Senior Member
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    I tell people "No, I'm not a doctor, but I play one in real life."
     
  38. WholeLottaGame7

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    My peds mentor told me to leave my white coat at home, too. Scares the little kiddies. Unexpected perk of choosing peds.

    I told my roommates that the short coats were so that if they were ever in the hospital as a patient and saw a short coat coming, they'd have a head start running for the door.
     
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  39. LJDHC05

    LJDHC05 Former Chicken Slayer
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    The short coat is a symbol of a bygone era when doctors were GOD, med students didn't have to learn half the stuff they do now but still whined about it, men were men and sheep were nervous. It's nothing more than a trinket to make you feel special that you're dumping the better part of your 20's (traditionally) and $200k into the second oldest profession around (next to prostitution...you draw the conclusions).

    I figure for $60k/year I should get something better than a white polyester jacket -maybe something that wicks sweat, has some water/stain repellent treatment, maybe some stretch panels built in for those awkward scut-work moments when you have to reach up really high- at least something that doesn't look like I should be manning the grill in a crappy diner.

    anyway I'm done...need sleep before exams this week
     
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  40. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    During the white coat ceremony, there were a few people who weren't sure if they should be wearing the white coat to class....and then on the first day of classes, I actually saw a couple of people wearing their white coats TO CLASS. Your post just reminded me that there are some people who cannot wait to wear their white coats. :rolleyes: :D
     
  41. GuzzyRon

    GuzzyRon Son of the Son of Man
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  42. OP
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    i61164

    i61164 Polar Bear, MD
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    This thread has way exceeded my expectations. :laugh: :laugh:
    Thanks to all that have contributed.
     
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  43. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    Huricane95 beat me to the punch. UMiami is one of several schools that gives everyone the long coat. I've heard that one of Stanford's selling points is that its students also use long coats.

    Also, coat length is important only to doctors. Patients see someone wearing long sleeves and white and automatically assume everyone is a doctor. Heck, when I was 19-years-old and working as a CNA, some patients thought that I was a doctor just because I was wearing scrubs. I personal favorite was a demented elderly lady who yelled out, "Doctor, doctor, I need you to take a look at my chest." I replied, "I'm not a doctor and I will not look at your chest."
     
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  44. loveumms

    loveumms Senior Member
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    Alright, so this might be a little bit of a rant because this annoys me.

    NP students get to wear long white coats at our institution, not sure if this is universal but, while us lowly med students have to wear short white coats. It can really blur the lines and many patients will think the NP students are physicians.

    Case in point - while in the ICU during my sub-I, an NP student and myself were in a patients room getting ready to change a dressing. The patient asked her, "hey doc, does the nurse have to be present for this" (refering to me). She just smiled and said, "she is a medical student". Didn't bother to correct the patient. Really just got under my skin.
     
  45. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    I wouldn't let it get under my skin. Just remember that someday, YOU will be called 'doc' for real, and you'd have earned that title. :D
     
  46. Tired

    Tired Fading away
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    Don't forget University of Chicago.

    I have been told that a lot of the East Coast programs make the residents wear short coats. An old professor of mine told me about his student days at Tufts, where an intern who had misplaced her coat after a night on call came to rounds wearing a borrowed long coat she got from a lab tech. The attending told her that either she could locate her short coat, or she could conduct rounds since she "obviously thought she was an attending already". Ouch.
     
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  47. OP
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    i61164

    i61164 Polar Bear, MD
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    So tempting to say: Umm...I think you've got that backwards Mr. So-and-so.
     
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  48. odrade1

    odrade1 UASOM alum
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    EMMD06 wrote:
    Many Chicago programs - students wear short white coats, residents/fellows wear long white coats, attendings wear long gray coats. There's also a Chicago program where residents wear a pretty rank brown-colored coat.

    What annoyed me most as a student was wearing those lame short white coats when all levels of techs (including, for example, "teen volunteers") wore long white coats. I mean, come on. -end
    --------------

    We have a number of ancillary staff people at our medical school who run around wearing the longer-style coats. Some of them even wear scrubs under their long white coats, to complete the doctor costume.

    The first week of med school I was a little confused as to why an attending was staffing the learning resource center equipment desk. Within a few days I realized that these people weren't lab techs, weren't nurses, weren't PAs; nor were they physicians. At first I was irritated with them. Now, however I feel sad for them: they were just sad people who wanted to feel better about their low-status jobs. I just wish someone would let them know that they aren't fooling anyone, and that they just seem silly. Especially when they leave the long coat on and head across the street to the hospital cafeteria, where attendings actually are seen having lunch.
     

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