06 October 2008

roll up you sleeves & get to work

If you're a physician or other hospital care provider, your typical dress code may be changing. Apparently those white coats that give some of us high blood pressure & act as uniform to most physicians may soon be a thing of the past in the US...the UK has already set about banning them. Read the story here.
"It is pretty clear that medical staff are major sources of in hospital infections as they move from patient to patient. … So I do not think it is unreasonable to ban long sleeves of any kind."

Not surprisingly, some doctors are quite reluctant to give up the uniform that identifies them as a physician. Apparently getting that coat is a right of passage (the "White Coat Day"ceremony). I don't know about you, but I'd be happier to have someone in a t-shirt and jeans take care of me if it's the safer way to go.

Obviously getting rid of the coats is not the only thing that needs to happen...consistent hand washing, getting rid of ties, and not over-using antibiotics are also important.

Meanwhile, look out for yourself by taking certain precautions. If you are uncomfortable because you didn't see the midwife, doctor or nurse wash her hands, just say something - use humor ("you know me - always paranoid about something - please indulge me"). And frankly, if you have a scratch or cut, keep it covered when you are in a hospital. And maybe I'm a little nutty, but after spending time at a hospital, I take off my clothes & shoes as soon as I get home & wash everything, including my watch and anything else I was wearing.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Interesting. I detest the white coats, though the smell of (rubbing) alcohol stresses me out more! Good thing my doc in the city doesn't wear one.