[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.146.176.35. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Article
January 2, 1987

Patient and House Officer Attitudes on Physician Attire and Etiquette

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Ms Dunn and Drs Lee and Goldman); and the Department of Medicine, H. C. Moffitt Hospital, University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine (Mr Percelay and Dr Fitz).

From the Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston (Ms Dunn and Drs Lee and Goldman); and the Department of Medicine, H. C. Moffitt Hospital, University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine (Mr Percelay and Dr Fitz).

JAMA. 1987;257(1):65-68. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390010069031
Abstract

To study patient preferences on physician attire and etiquette, we interviewed 200 patients on the general medical services of teaching hospitals in Boston and San Francisco. Of these 200 patients, 65% believed physicians should wear a white coat, 27% believed physicians should not wear tennis shoes, 52% believed physicians should not wear blue jeans, 37% believed male physicians should wear neckties, and 34% believed female physicians should wear dresses or skirts. Forty percent of patients wanted physicians to address them by first name, but only 10% of patients wanted to address their physicians by first name. A concurrent mailed survey of 74 medical house staff members at the two hospitals revealed wide variability in physicians' attire and in how patients were addressed at each institution. Thus, many house officers had habits that were less formal than a substantial portion of their patients preferred.

(JAMA 1987;257:65-68)

×