April 13, 2011 / 3:16 AM / 8 years ago

Dermatologists should ditch their neckties but keep white coat

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A U.S. survey of patients at dermatologists’ offices sends a clear message to doctors about their attire: scrap the necktie, but don’t lose the white coat just yet.

“We’re going to proclaim that ties are dead,” said Dean Morrell, one of the study’s authors and director of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at the University of North Carolina.

Morrell and his colleagues surveyed 176 new patients at an adult dermatology clinic and the parents of 248 children attending a pediatric clinic on their views of what doctors should wear.

“Only about 20 percent of people felt like their male physicians should wear a necktie,” he told Reuters Health.

The results, published in the Archives of Dermatology, were the same across all groups who answered the survey regardless of age, race, education level or gender.

But at least for the grown-up patients, the white coat is still in vogue, with more than half of patients in the adult dermatologist’s office expecting to be treated by a physician wearing a white coat.

When it comes to children, parents are less demanding of the white coat, with only around 25 percent wanting to see their children’s doctor in the attire.

Overall, though, only about one in three people said that attire affects their trust in the doctor.

“It speaks to what’s really important in the relationship,” Morrell said.

“If there’s an excellent therapeutic relationship that they enjoy, the exterior — whether it’s a white coat or a tie — really doesn’t matter.”

SOURCE: bit.ly/eT1LBZ

Reporting by Kerry Grens at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies

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