Have you ever wondered about the dress code in a clinical setting? Maybe you’re a vet student on clinics and there’s a set policy.
Or maybe you’re interviewing for a position and the hospital has a strict dress code. Or maybe you’re free to choose and you’re just questioning if you should invest in a shiny new wardrobe, lots of scrubs and white coats or a combination?
In a world where appearances seem to matter so much and most of our lives are reviewed by others, the good news is that perhaps you are not what you wear.
According to one JAVMA article called “Client’s attitudes towards veterinarians’ attire in the small animal emergency medicine setting,” it was found that “there was no preference regarding the way a male or female veterinarian was dressed and that this attire would have no effect on the respondents’ trust in their veterinarian” (1).
Furthermore, the article states, “among respondent’s with a preference for a specific type of attire, most consistently indicated a preference for surgical or clinical attire over business and professional attire.”
Of course, like most articles, this one openly discusses the limitations that could have influenced the results- from the type of clinic (emergency) to regional differences to social desirability bias among others- it is possible that these factors affected the results. However, as a pioneer study, it is a great starting point for investigating the effects of your attire on client perception.
Undoubtedly, I fully encourage you to abide by your school’s or workplace’s dress code if they have a set policy. However, knowing that the majority of clients (at least according this study) do not have a preference may be a relief to those veterinarians who wonder if their dress choice will affect them.
So, if your workplace doesn’t have a policy and you’re trying to decide what to shop for or what to wear in the clinic, then you have room to choose and wear what makes you most comfortable and feel most confident and be the best version of yourself.
Sugerman-McGriffin, T.,Hybki, G.C., Castro, J., C. T., Nakamura, R.K., & Chen, D. Y. (2018). Clients’ perception toward veterinarians’ attire in the small animal emergency medicine setting. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 253(3), 355-359.