Research has established the fact that what doctors wear is important, we investigate why.
A study of 4000+ patients
Medical workwear has long been restricted for practical reasons: tie clips, scrubs, and PPE have all been commonplace in medical settings for years, where hygiene and cleanliness are of paramount concern for the safety of both medical staff and their patients. But a 2018 study in the US showed that the clothes doctors wear matter far more than just hygiene purposes - this is probably applicable here in the UK as well.
patients care what doctors wear
The study surveyed 4,062 patients and found that over half said that what doctors wear is important to them, with over a third also saying that it influences their satisfaction with their care.
Considering how much of healthcare and wellbeing is psychological, and the upward struggles that the healthcare industry has faced in ensuring that patients trust and respect medical professionals, this is no small revelation.
The survey found that, when asked to rate doctors' attire on how knowledgeable, trustworthy, caring and approachable it is, patients preferred formal attire with a white doctors' coat followed by medical scrubs with a white coat
Why does workwear matter?
The results of this study clarify what experts in workwear and corporate identity have known for a long time: that what we wear to work is about more than just practicalities. The uniforms we wear at work are part of our professional identities, and they affect not just how our colleagues see us but also how patients and clients see us, too.
Trust and identity are huge motivating factors at work; not just in the sense that it's important that service users trust service providers, but also in the sense that by wearing something which commands respect and authority, employees are more likely to live up to these roles at work.
What can we learn from this study?
While casual wear has long been commonplace in medical settings, it's apparent that hospitals could settle patient anxiety and improve their quality of service by instituting stricter guidelines on physicians' dress codes. In other sectors, similar lessons can be learnt: work uniforms aren't just there for practical reasons, and thinking beyond the obvious to consider what image your employees' choice in clothes is presenting to the outside world is a great first step into finding effective workwear in any setting.
At HealthBrook, we offer PPE and workwear to clients across multiple sectors. Contact us today for expert advice and guidance.