Sometime ago in April this year, our new DG reminded all the doctors to wear our white coat when we are working in the hospital. And my Head of Department remind us as well during our monthly departmental meeting to wear our white coat whenever we see patients outside OT.
Aiyks... The last time I wear my clinical white coat was during my housemanship time, during my medical postings, that was way back in 1998 already... Nowadays, most doctors in hospital don't wear white coat, unless seeing patients in clinic.. It's damn hot wearing this white coat in the ward while during ward rounds or clerking new cases or seeing patients..
Those who always wear white coat in the hospital are mostly medical students or pharmacist or the physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Well, I also wear my white coat ALL the time previously when I was in the hospital during my medical student time.. So hot, really no joke !! Most of the time, when wearing this white coat in the ward, I will start sweating (made me looks like thyrotoxicosis patients with heat intolerance... having excessive & profuse sweating...) (Well, there's no air cond in the ward, only few pathetic fans ...)
Wearing white coat is really not practical, with many reasons behind it.. Not only it's hot(furthermore, our climate is so hot and humid).. & inconvenient, it's also very dirty as well.. It's proven already white coat is a source of hospital acquired bacterial infection. Adding the risk to the patients as well as ourselves & our beloved family members..
Imagine carrying all these dirty bugs back home !! Some more, who will actually wash their white coats daily? I don't think many will wash it weekly as well.. Some might only wash it once in few months!! So u can imagine how "dirty" is that white coat :P
I still prefer wearing the ICU blue shirt when working inside ICU or doing rounds outside.. As we are dealing with critically ill patients & doing lotsa invasive procedures as well, there's very high chance that our attires will be contaminated with sputum, tracheal aspirate, blood, vomitus, body secretions etc etc.. In fact, we need to wash our hands every time we move from one bed to another.. (handwashing is very important to prevent transmission of germs).. So, is it justifiable to wear white coat inside ICU?
My fellow colleague, LT has posted on this White Coat issue in his blog..
Normally, I just keep my white coat inside my car..(I think there's dog fur on my white coat as well, since my kai mui's doggy walked on it previously...). I only wear my white coat when "necessary", or "once in a blue moon"... My stethoscope is the "emblem" of my medical profession already, together with my name tag & card.. No need white coat lah...