Hello all! I am back with yet another controversial post. Well you can tell by the title. I don’t think nurses should be wearing white coats/jackets. Here we go…
This is an opinion I have never freely shared with my nursing constituates, but I have shared with my fellow interns when I was back in highschool and then when I was a sophomore in college. I actually started my blog when I was completing my second year in this internship these posts can be found here:
- Thoughtful Thursday: Feeling Unaccomplished
- What I Learned Shadowing Physicians: A Nursing Major’s Perspective
- Thoughtful Thursday: Stigma Against Nursing Majors
- Thoughtful Thursday: Internship Reflection
Anyway, I was one of very few interns who were going into nursing, everyone else was going into medicine or medical law (Which is why I was able to freely express this opinion when asked). Yes, I believe there is a difference in nursing and medicine. Despite the differences, they can both work together for the greater good of the patient. We are all a team with different abilities. Let’s continue.
During my time completing this internship in conjunction with a medical school, one of my peers asked me what I thought about nurses wearing white coats. I immediately replied I did not agree. My opinion all boils down the patient (well mostly). Traditionally (in the U.S.A.), patients associate a white coat with a physician. Now, many don’t actually wear them which is totally up to them. I know in Peds the physicians never wear them, unless it’s a Surgery Resident. This helps decrease intimidation, but I’ve noticed other types of physcians who are out of residency rarely wear them.
Physicians work hard to be able to wear their white coat (if they so choose), and we should respect that. Not to mention not every patient understands that nowadays a white coat could be a social worker, case manager, nurse practitioner or physician assistant (at least in my experience). Now, when I was in nursing school we were required to wear our white lab coats for certain days. I hated wearing those things, I always felt ridiculous.
I think a better alternative would have been a traditional scrub jacket that matched the school uniform top and had the school’s patch and embroidery on it. This would possibly allow for more clarity amongst patients.
Any thoughts? Thanks for reading,