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Editor's Correspondence
November 24, 2003

Stethoscopes as Neckwear

Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(21):2652-2653. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.21.2652-a

In his Commentary in the June 9 issue of the ARCHIVES, Dr Brandt1 comprehensively describes the importance of the clothing worn by health care providers to patients. For the sake of completeness and because it is a relatively new phenomenon, one wonders if Dr Brandt has any data on patients' attitudes concerning the practice of wearing the stethoscope draped around the neck. The behavior is primarily seen among house officers, medical students, and nurses, the latter mostly in emergency ward and intensive care unit settings. Television has adopted this quasisymbolic medical badge, thereby, perhaps fostering acceptance by the public. That one rarely sees this pattern of "accessory attire" among practicing physicians other than hospitalists indicates that this is not a "global" practice in the medical field.

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