Sunday, October 22, 2006

What goes with a lab coat?

This is a really little, very random pet peeve. In the grand scheme of things, it is not important at all. I shouldn’t let it bother me, since it has nothing to do with speech and doesn’t really affect me, but somehow I can’t seem to help it.

What is it? Jeans. More specifically, jeans and lab coats.

You see, I work in a teaching hospital. We have, in addition to residents, student radiology techs, surgical techs, and nurses, among others. This pet peeve is about the student nurses. In their first year of school, they are assigned to do chart reviews. They show up on the nursing units and read patient charts for their assignments. No patient contact, no nursing duties, just reading charts.

During these assignments, the students wear their white lab coats emblazoned with the name of the nursing school (I assume so the patients don’t think that the hospital lets random people off the street read the patient charts). During their practica, the students will wear white scrubs with the nursing school logo, but for the chart readings, they just throw the lab coat on over their street clothes. Which usually involve jeans.

Which brings me to my pet peeve.

Jeans and lab coats look ridiculous together. They just do. The only thing sillier looking is a lab coat and shorts (which I saw for the first time this summer, of course on a student). If you are important enough to be wearing a lab coat, you are important enough to be dressing professionally, which does not include jeans.

Our hospital dress code forbids jeans for employees (I once even got a talking-to for a [calf-length] jean skirt!), but students are apparently exempt from the dress code. Which I understand for their classes, but if they are out of the classroom, in the hospital to complete their assignments (where patients and visitors can see them, and where they are clearly affiliated with the hospital), shouldn’t they be held to a bit of a higher standard?


Blogger Sarah said...

I worked at Texas NeuroRehab at the adult rehab unit-an LTAC technically, but for rehab. Wash and wear was the norm. I can only even think of a couple of people that even wore lab coats... I think one of the nurses did regularly.

Patients felt uncomfortable around people that looked much different than they did, and said as much. I suppose it depends where you are.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Speechy said...

Good point. I'm sure there are regional and setting-specific differences. In general, I don't have a problem with the casual clothes, it's just the juxtaposition of jeans with labcoats I find funny.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Yeah... I see what you mean. The point of the casual clothes was so our nice things weren't ruined. So, that would be the point of our lab coats anyway!

You know, I just got an image from it. Doogie Howser. Ha!

6:58 PM  

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