If you live in the USA or many other countries, you may associate the white medical coat with a number of doctors. Short coats, I am told, are for medical students. The longer the coat, the more senior you are.
In South Africa, two groups of people wear the white medical coat as a rule: medical students and old-school professors.
In fact, at my medical school, you celebrated your induction into student internship by getting to throw the white coat into the back of your cupboard. So the last time I wore a white coat was in the middle of my fifth year – two years ago.
Thing is, I’m a little over having to pick an outfit every morning.
I miss my white coat. It was so much easier throwing it over whatever I was wearing. I could even possibly get away with wearing the same outfit twice in a week. And all those pockets… *drools*
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting myself a few stylish long white coats for work. But here is the thing: I’m short and petite and look like a Doogie (Howser, that is). What if my patients think I’m a medical student?! (Half of them already do. Just the other day a patient asked me how many years til I graduate. She wouldn’t believe me that I was qualified until a fellow intern confirmed it to her!)
I also don’t know what the reception will be from my fellow interns, and my superiors, were I to suddenly begin wearing a white coat. Not that I should care what others think, I guess, but I can’t help wondering.
The flip-side of course is the idea that white coats contribute to cross-infection, which is hardly something I want to be guilty of. But I can’t help wondering why white coats would be any different from whatever other clothing you are wearing – unless of course you don’t wear a clean coat every day.
My ideal would be then to wear scrubs to work every day. I kind of wish our hospital would pass THAT as a resolution. At the moment, only people who are on call wear scrubs to work. I certainly don’t want to be mistaken as the intern on call when I am not!