No studies to date exist regarding the attire of physicians on a surgical service. The objective of this study was to determine patient, surgeon, and nonhospitalized public (NHP) attitudes and preferences regarding surgeons’ attire and mannerisms.
A questionnaire was developed to survey each group. The Internet was used as a novel avenue to survey the NHP. Eight questions were presented to each group, and each question had three possible responses: agree, disagree, or no opinion. Total responses and percentages were determined for each group’s answers, and statistical analysis was performed using chi-square test.
Thirty-eight surgical inpatients, 38 surgeons, and 334 NHP participated in the study. All groups agreed that surgeons should wear nametags while they are seeing patients. Inpatients agreed with surgeons that surgeons should wear white coats while seeing patients (P > .05). Surgeons considered scrubs and clogs to be acceptable attire, which differed from all other groups (P < .05). Although 31% of the NHP considered blue jeans acceptable, only 10% of surgeons (P < .05) and 22% of patients (P > .05) considered them acceptable. All groups believed that a surgeon’s appearance influences their perceptions and impressions regarding the quality of medical care they received (P < .05).
Based on the agreement of all groups that a surgeon’s appearance and mannerisms affects perceptions of the quality of medical care received, surgeons should respond to these perceptions and dress accordingly while seeing surgical patients.
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Received in revised form: August 4, 2004
Received: January 30, 2004
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