Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Impersonating an MD

Here's an important quiz for you:

Which of the women below is a doctor? Which is a medical student?

Try not to pay attention to the body language in making your decision... If you're stumped, consult this introductory review.

Sometimes I wonder how much of medicine is just show. Good luck not being stopped by a nurse between the stairwell and the patient's room if your wearing just a shirt and tie. (Actually, I prefer an evidence based wardrobe: tie free and proud.) The appearance of physicianship causes people to hold doors for you, gives you wide berth in the cafeteria, and leads toward more held elevators than I care to list. I almost feel bad making those passengers wait for me as I turn in to the stairwell.

Get to the point, Robey!

Today I left the key to my hospital locker at home. This forced me to make a temporary wardrobe change. Not many med students serve at this hospital, and few of the staff are as large as me. There is a rack of clean guest coats in the residents' locker room; I was lucky to snag one labeled 2XLT. So until the program assistant was able to lend me an extra key, I wore the mantle of a resident. Not only did this coat fit better, it looked good. (Please apply your best girlfriend language to that last phrase.) If you think medical students' white coats look funny down to the hips, consider what it would look like down to the belt. Yes, it is that bad.

Anyway, by 8:00, the administrator had returned so I was able to slip back into my short white cloak of vulnerability. I'll just have to savor my 2 hours of power.

Here's what I will not savor:
  • Wearing white coats on the bus. Talk about a power trip. Come on people, get over it already. Yes you are a doctor. You are also one of us. (Speaking as a non-doctor.)
  • Wearing coats in the cafeteria. Who knows what other substances rhyming with cafeteria are on that coat. It's worse than Mr. Yuk - It's Dr. Yuk.
  • Brown sleeve cuffs and clear signs of dirt. How does the jingle go? A-L-L: the stain lifter!
  • White coats at noon conference. At least take the jacket off while you munch on your sandwich.
  • Doctors coming out of bathrooms with white coats on. Gross!
Those who know me, feel free to call me out on any of these should you note hypocracy...


Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

The PubMed "study" reminded me of this entry at PLoS Blog.

It was based on a more serious look at whether or not cuffs on sleeves were MRSA carriers, and if a British Parliamentary decree on medical personnel was based on science or prejudice.

Sorry you had a rough day.

marc said...

Don't get me started on people wearing scrubs on the bus! Grr, HUGE pet peeve of mine. Adhere to Good Laboratory (and clinical) Practices, people!