Sunday, February 18, 2007

"Suitable ward attire"

I am very happy to be getting away from a profession in which we are required to wear a uniform day in and day out, but this introduces the option of personal taste and preference. Generally making your own mind up can be an area in which some people seem to struggle.

In a recent lecture we were told that we were to look, act and dress the same way as the real doctors in order to fit in and give patients confidence in our ability. Having worked with real doctors for several years, I am not quite sure how to take this. You see, real doctors get it very very wrong as well.

I have seen a young female doctor in a tight designer dress with fishnet stockings and killer heels. In the emergency department. I would have loved to see how she went if all hell broke loose.

I have seen another female consultant wearing a low-cut top and tight leopard-print miniskirt. She could have gotten away with it if she had worn the ensemble once, but it was a regular outfit, clearly in her pile of "workwear". I doubt this would pass for suitable student attire, but you could argue that you were dressing like a real doctor.

The men don't quite seem to get it as wrong as the women, probably because it is hard to get it so incredibly wrong when you get to wear men's clothing. Your average clueless male can get away with a striped collared shirt with navy pants or jeans (on the weekend) and not put anybody offside.

However, I have seen a male doctor running around the hospital with clothes that looked strikingly like the uniform of a male nurse. His pants were the same colour, his shirt was the same colour (although obviously not hospital-issue) and a lot of nurses run around with Littmann steths around their necks these days (as does everybody, it would seem - even the vet students at uni!) so that didn't even make a difference. However, seeing as how most male nurses tend to get mistaken for doctors I doubt it would have caused him any issues.

Milk & Two Sugars has already written a great post on student-wear in the hospitals, so I won't repeat what she has said. However, where we are in the world, a lot of our female doctors run around in business pants and dress shirts that don't need ironing, and for me this is an incredibly attractive option! There is also the issue of the cost of a nice collared shirt for women - the same brand of shirt with the same material for a woman will cost twice as much as the same shirt cut for a man. Not cool.

However, you won't catch me dead wearing a leopard-print skirt or fishnets anywhere, so I think I am pretty safe. Better to concentrated on becoming the best doctor I can be without spending energy fixating on clothing. If I do fixate on clothing, it will be in a happy way. :)


Anonymous said...

Y'know, once you're a doctor, you can actually get away with a whole lot more than you could when you were a student. Hence, the fishnets - however appallingly inappropriate - can only be carried off if you're at the top of the ladder, and impervious to criticism. Students are easy targets in comparison. :)


Roy said...

Sounds like the docs in your neck of the woods are a lot more, umm, liberal in their attire. At least the ladies. Can't say I've seen many miniskirts on the wards.
And most us clueless male docs look the same everyday (myself included).

Fishnet stockings, huh? Hmm, I wonder if a Hooters Hospital would fly...

(great blog, btw)

The Girl said...

Thanks for the comments!

"Hooters: The Hospitas" - the mind boggles! Don't suggest it to our state government - they might find a way to introduce it as a way to increase funding to our under-resourced public hospital system! :)

I like the way males doctors dress. I'm rabidly jealous. The thought of wearing a skirt to work makes my brain boil over even more. I like being able to climb over things without flashing the general public: equipment, patients when the need arises (and it does), other staff in the coffee queue. . .