After some deliberation, Johns Hopkins Hospital leadership has determined that their medical interns may wear long white lab coats. Until now the short white lab coat defined medical interns and the age old pecking order of postgraduate medicine in Baltimore.
Woulda killed to hear that debate. Although I know how important this stuff can be to young residents.
It’s important because the hem of your lab coat is all you’ve got when you don’t know what kind of doctor you are. It’s like that stethoscope in your pocket. When you start it’s your only source of credibility.
But patients don’t care about your lab coat. They’re even less concerned with how long it is. It’s what you do while your in it that counts. For trainees it says more about your potential than your current capacity as a healer.
If you spend enough time in hospitals you’ll find that medicine is filled with small doctors in big white lab coats.
Which is fine when you start. But you don’t want to be a small doctor forever. And concern with the length of your lab coat should be a passing phase.
Modified image via the U.S. National Library of Medicine.