A Baby Doctor Writes

2 Conversations

'A Baby Doctor' by Amy the  <br/>

'Why do you have to wear a tie just to go to University?'

Asked a friend of mine the other week. Of course the answer was because the medical school tell us to. They say that people expect doctors to be dressed in a certain way. That means no visible piercing other than ears, no visible tattoos; hair has to be vaguely convention. So when the rest of our friends are celebrating the escape from school rules on such matters, we're still wondering if a plaster will cover our new eyebrow ring.

Of course such rules put off many potential applicants to medical school. When you are 18 you are not going to apply for a course that means that you can't dress as the Goth you know you are. Maybe there are many potential good doctors amongst those that at 18 were Goths and
punks. Those that thought medical school was for the conformist square ones.

Maybe those that rebel against rules on dress are those that would rebel in the future,
those that would report a surgeon whose mortality rate was unacceptably high. Could allowing
nose rings at medical school prevent another Bristol heart scandal?

But Patients like a Doctor to be Dressed Smartly

If you were waiting in Accident and Emergency for four hours before you finally got to see
a doctor would you care that they weren't wearing a tie? Not to mention that they are not
especially practical if you need to run down a corridor and start CPR.

Wearing a tie is making a statement, 'I am a middle class professional'. Middle class
professionals naturally want to talk to other middle class professionals. Social workers, whose
clients, by and large tend not to be middle class, are advising not to wear ties when dealing with

clients because it intimidates them, creates an atmosphere of 'us and them'.

I remember in the first weeks of medical school thinking that because I grew up in a town that could never be described as posh, people would find it
easier to talk to me. One of the tasks we had to do in first year was to follow a family who
were affected by chronic disease throughout a year. 'My' family came from an area almost
identical to the one my parents lived in. On our first meeting they were distinctly cold with me.

They couldn't see the area that I came from, just that I was dressed 'posh'.

Elderly ladies from Tunbridge Wells might be concerned if their doctors don't wear a tie, but
the teenager from Liverpool who needs the morning after pill might feel more relaxed if their
doctor was dressed more casually. But I doubt it, they're probably feel that they were sad old

gits just trying to be cool. After all, the divide of class is far too deeply entrenched in society
to be conquered by a change of dress code.

A Baby Doctor Writes -


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