Doctor’s Orders: White coat or a suit?

How do you want to see your doctor when you arrive for your clinic visit?! Do you think a white coat makes them look smarter or more professional? What if they were wearing a nice suit? Would that make you think they have a lot of money, maybe too much money, to spend on nice clothes? Granted we probably would all agree that a good bedside manner, a sympathetic ear or past evidence of good work are the most important traits we want in our doctor, but what about that first impression?


white coat
Do you prefer you doctor wear a white coat? (shameless plug for medelita!)

Picture yourself going to see your plastic surgeon for the first time. You’ll probably notice whether the office is clean or if the receptionist is polite. But for the sake of argument, try and block all of that out. I want you to focus on your first visual impression of your doctor. In your mind’s eye, imagine what you think of as the most aesthetically pleasing vision. OK, in that vision, is your doctor wearing:


–a suit with no white coat?

–or maybe a white coat over dressy clothes (with or without a tie – read here about germs a tie can transmit!)?

–a white coat over clean scrubs?

–clean scrubs without a white coat?


white coat
Or do you prefer they wear scrubs?

It’s interesting to hear patient’s feedback as to what gives them a feeling of professionalism and competence in regards to what their doctor is wearing. What’s also interesting is how a white coat may affect your doctor’s feeling of professionalism and competence! In this post from Medelita, a company that produces white coats and scrubs, they discuss enclothed cognition. Enclothed cognition theorizes that what you wear affects your psyche. As the writer in the Medelita post explains, several studies have shown that doctors that wear white coats focus better on various tasks.


So what’s at stake here is not only how you feel about a doctor with or without a white coat but also how that doctor feels about themselves and in turn how accurately they perform their job. Take our poll below and let us know what you prefer!


[poll id=”12″]


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