Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 508-512

Pediatrician wearing a white coat: A survey of preferences among children and their care givers

1 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakiliki, Nigeria
4 Department of Community Medicine, Enugu State University College of Medicine, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Josephat M. Chinawa
Department of Paediatrics, UNTH, PMB 01129, Enugu, Enugu State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.133699

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Background: The practice of wearing white coats, also called laboratory (lab.) coats, by doctors is very common throughout the western world and is also found in the rest of the world. The exact origin of this practice is unclear and its relevance, especially in pediatric practice, is being questioned of late. Objectives: To find out whether the mode of dressing of a pediatrician, especially wearing of white coats, has an influence on the perception of the doctor by parents and/or children in a pediatric ward. Materials and Methods: A structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information from the caregivers of children, (and older children) who were admitted in the hospitals during the study period. Three photographs of a doctor dressed differently (formal dressing with shirt and tie and a white coat, formal dressing with shirt and tie but no white coat and casual dressing with T-shirt upon jeans trousers) were shown to the children and their parents/caregivers and were asked to indicate which of the pictures they would prefer as their child's doctor. Results: A total of 227 child/caregiver pairs were interviewed. Ninety-four of the children [41.4%] were females whereas133 [58.6%] were males. The preference of the caregivers on the appropriate dress style for doctors was mostly the corporate attire alone was 74 [32.6%]; and with a white coat was 126 [55.5%]. The preference of the children for the corporate look was also 67 [29.4%] and the corporate look with white coat was 88 [38.7%] as the preferred attire for their attending doctor. Conclusions: Our findings suggest a preference for the wearing of white coats by pediatricians, especially among caregivers and older children.

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