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BMC Med Educ. 2017 May 26;17(1):93. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-0932-1.

The effect of white coats and gender on medical students' perceptions of physicians.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, 1403 29th Street NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 2T9, Canada.
2
Departments of Critical Care, Medicine and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
3
Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, 1403 29th Street NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 2T9, Canada. adam.bass@ahs.ca.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite the fact that medical schools spend a considerable effort to rate clinical instructors, there is limited evidence regarding the effect of physical characteristics on instructor ratings. White coats have been shown to alter patients' perceptions of physicians although it has not been determined if preceptors who wear white coats are rated differently than their colleagues.

METHODS:

Second year medical students were administered a questionnaire with four clinical scenarios depicting medical errors accompanied by a picture of a physician of different sexes and ethnicities. The packages were randomized so that the physicians depicted either had or did not have a white coat.

RESULTS:

White coats did not alter the perception of physicians' ratings by medical students although sex and ethnicity/case were associated with the perception of trustworthiness, physician management, competence, professionalism and the perception of medical error.

CONCLUSIONS:

Physical characteristics may alter students' ratings of physicians.

KEYWORDS:

Attire; Bias; Gender

PMID:
28549461
PMCID:
PMC5446716
DOI:
10.1186/s12909-017-0932-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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