Trust in the White Coat

Medical culture is a weird yet powerful force that bonds together those who practice medicine.  From the SOB in bed 2 to the frequent-flyer out in the waiting room, the connection that we get by speaking our medical lingo brings out a special bond  of the medical culture.  Its a large, sub-culture, and like many sub-cultures we have our different rules and lingo.  I would even argue that within our large medical sub-culture we have many many different smaller ones inside that.  Nurses, techs, doctors, etc.  And even among the doctors their tends to be this imaginary dividing line between specialties.

As a new resident, I’ve found it odd that the same day I’ve earned my long white coat, was also the same day the culture around me changed to the point where it was considered a “newbie” move to wear the long white coat around.  I was quickly made fun of for wanting to flaunt around the fact that now I was actually an MD.  It was a very odd feeling.

However, I have stood my ground, and continued to wear the long white coat despite what my fellow residents say.  While I admit, a large part of wearing the coat is for the extra pockets, I do enjoy the fact that it took me many years to earn it, and I do see it as a sense of pride.  But more-so, it turns out in the literature that the long white coat is actually a non-verbal way of instilling confidence, trust, empathy, and establishing a good doctor patient relationship. For proof please see the references below.

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22445730

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16546951

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18286342

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16271913

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20095290

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2016013