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Clin Med (Lond). 2009 Dec;9(6):519-24.

Are we dressed to impress? A descriptive survey assessing patients' preference of doctors' attire in the hospital setting.

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  • 1University of Leeds.


This study investigated patients' attitudes to doctors in different attires in a hospital setting. A cross-sectional descriptive survey asked 586 adult patients to rate and rank photographs of a doctor in each of the following attires: scrubs, professional informal, professional formal, smart casual, casual and white coat. They were also asked to choose the single most important feature of a doctor's appearance out of six predetermined choices. Patients had most confidence in doctors wearing the white coat, followed by professional informal. Casual attire was the least confidence inspiring. No two attires were deemed to be equally rated or ranked. Varying demographic groups within the hospital rated and ranked some attire differently. Daily laundered clothing was considered to be the most important feature. With patients' clear preference for white coats, its reintroduction should be given consideration and education regarding the cleanliness of scrubs may increase patient confidence.

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