Saturday, March 03, 2007

I think I am overdressing at work

our dress should be best for our patients but also serve our own needs, ideally be pleasing to colleagues, and not break any organizational dress codes. Our own narcissistic or exhibitionistic—or perhaps even to some degree comfort—needs should not take precedence.

There seems to be many psychiatrists dressing inappropriately:

Many years later, and not too long ago, I was supervising a woman psychiatrist and noticed a tongue ring as she was describing a patient. When I asked her whether patients noticed the ring (which she had had for months), she said they hardly ever commented. When I brought this subject up to the residency committee, there was no consensus on appropriate dress for residents.

There is limited literature about this subject:

there was only one recent study of psychiatrists conducted at a university hospital outpatient clinic serving mainly poorer patients; the study was entitled “How Should Psychiatrists Dress?—A Survey” (Community Ment. Health J. 2006;42:291–302).
The study found that both patients and psychiatrists generally felt that professional dress was an important part of the doctor-patient relationship. For male psychiatrists, the majority recommended “casual pants and casual shirt,” with tie and dress shirt preferred by only 10%. Because I work half of my time in such a clinical setting, should I not wear the tie I put on each day?

Maybe I should take off my tie when I go to the state psychiatric hospital and put it back on when I arrive at my sleep clinic.


Stefan D. Tarlow MD said...

I am an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the knee in Scottsdale, Arizona. I followed doctor blogs for the past year and recently started my own. I recently came across your blog and wanted to touch base with other Drs with more experience. If you get a chance, please check it out at and I would enjoy hearing any comments/critique/suggestions. Best wishes
-Dr. Tarlow

Michael Rack, MD said...

It is an educational blog and is well done. I have added it to my links section

Mother Jones RN said...

Never wear a tie on a psych unit. A patient can hurt you by grabbing it.


Randall Sexton said...

Yes, never wear a tie on a psych fact I never wear a tie anymore, period. Well, except a bowtie for my daughter's wedding recently.

Anonymous said...

yes I always find it is best to wear clothes such that you do not mind being wrestled to the floor, when wearing them.

I mean that generally of course, not just at work!

Why the fuck can't we wear jeans eh? eh?? And in one job I got told off by the consultant for having one too many earrings - he thought it made me look a bit too much like the patients - who were all heroin addicts, it was an addictions job.

Now I am an addictions consultant, it flatters me that the needle exchange guys think I have come for some fresh pins, when in fact I am trying to enter the building to conduct a clinic. So they think I am fit enough to be a prostitute? - I'm fifty this year. That's flattery. And I'm wearing very ordinary things.

So yes it does matter what you wear, and who can ever stop being narcissistic in this day and age, I ask you?

Just not THAT narcissitic.