Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I don't want to wear a white coat.

When I was a second year medical student, I volunteered at a primary care clinic called Care Free. On my first day, I brought along my white coat and stethoscope like I did for every situations where I expected to see patients. I was working with an older medical student there who told me, "White coats are actively discouraged here," and had me set it down in the office for the rest of the afternoon I was there. I was a little confused at first but none of the other doctors, residents, or medical students there had white coats and I didn't want to look like an anomaly.

I think the non-medical public associate closely white coats and doctors. Even before my third year of medical school, I thought I would like wearing a white coat. 

Now that I am more familiar with the medical field, I hate white coats. I want to disassociate them from medicine. For me, the white coat represents an attitude to patients. It means that I'm really smart and important and you must talk to me. I'm more comfortable talking to patients when I'm not wearing my coat. 

This was actually one of the reasons I disliked my Internal Medicine rotation. Everyone wore white coats all the time. When we were rounding, I felt the residents, attendings, and students were ghosts huddled together and whispering. 

When I am I doctor, I will get some more freedom to decide the kind of practice I want. I'm sure that don't want to wear a white coat. 


Emily said...

I don't even own a white coat right now! I am supposed to get one at some point. My goal is to only wear it at pride.

CYW said...

Lucky you! Even on inpatient service you don't wear a white coat?

I didn't know there was an opportunity to wear white coats at pride. An LGBT doctors organization?