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Published On Jun 10, 2016

Clinical Research

White Coats

The standard garb of the physician comes with surprising risks and benefits.

Audio Interview

JW Player Goes Here

A conversation with Nancy Etcoff discussing the history of the white coat.  

 

1904
Year Ivan Pavlov won a Nobel Prize for his work in classical conditioning. In his experiment, dogs salivated whenever they saw a lab technician’s white coat, knowing they would soon be fed.  

10
Studies, out of 15, that found patients prefer that physicians wear white coats. Patients reported feeling less comfortable with informally dressed physicians. 

231
Undergraduates who were tested on various concentration tasks in 2012. Those asked to wear white coats performed better than their peers on tests for sustained attention and picking out logical discrepancies. 

2008
Year Britain required doctors to go “bare below the elbows” to prevent spreading disease via garments, ridding the country of white coats. The American Medical Association rejected a similar policy the next year, and subsequent studies showed similar bacterial counts for bare-armed and white-coated physicians.  

36
Percentage, in a survey, of health care facilities that laundered nonsurgical scrubs or uniforms. The remaining facilities required physicians to wash their own garments. A separate survey showed that 57% of the physicians reported washing their white coats monthly or never. 

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