I live in a part of the world where the Doctor’s white coat is no longer worn because it spreads more disease than it helps cure (because most doctors do not wash their coats as often as they should – being a clean freak myself, this fact scared me very much). And because it induces white coat anxiety and tends to widen the gap between patients and doctors making empathy and cooperation difficult to achieve. Which I am told is very important in the clinical arena.
And while all of that is great, it does mean that students like myself no longer have the freedom of wearing whatever they want (other than crop tops and shorts, of course) with the confidence that it will go unnoticed under the very professional looking white coat. This means I have to wear formal clothes all day every day in hospital. And that means 2 things:
- In order to look formal, I must trade off the most important thing I think of when I buy clothes – comfort. Straight pencil skirts, stiff blazers that scrunch at the elbows when you bend them, dresses with no pockets, etc. Definitely not like my ideal choice of clothing which, although unimaginative (jeans and a top), allows me to do everything I need to do without sparing a thought to my elbows or knees from where my skirt is riding up.
- I need to get a whole new wardrobe because I don’t have a shred of formal clothing available for the hospital setting. And I know what you’re thinking: shopping spree! What could be wrong with that?! Well I’ll tell you. I stink at shopping. I am one of those people that only ever goes shopping if I lack one item of clothing. Or any object for that matter. I then proceed to go “shopping” whereby I walk into one shop and find this ONE item I need, buy it, and walk out without giving a second thought to anything else in the store. So if you tell me I need 50 items of clothing and they all have to match and they all have to look presentable, you’d see me implode. (well you wouldn’t see it, but you know.) I also do not consider myself very fashionable. I do not bother to keep up with trends or anything of the sort. As I said, my major intent in clothes is comfort and practicality. Which means I’m never seen in particularly trendy clothing or anything very out there. So you can see where I’d have trouble with this new lifestyle in hospital.
Formal clothes can be a good thing though! They make people look so professional and much older than they are. Which in my case, isn’t always a bad thing because with my small size and innocent expression, if I was in my casual attire, people in hospital would think that I am visiting a patient instead of seeing one and they would probably ask me where my mommy is. But if was wearing a very severe looking blazer, they’d know I was actually someone kind of important. Right?
So I did it. I went “shopping”. Turns out, if I actually pay attention to the other things being sold at stores, I’d find that there were lots of different types of formal clothes! Skirts, dresses, pants, blouses, shirts, and in all shapes and colours! Err… almost too many. The problem soon became deciding what exactly to buy. I found that another reason I only buy one thing at a time is because otherwise I become very indecisive and come back empty-handed. There were far too many options! It made me wish I was a boy meaning all I would need was a shirt and trousers which would be a nice adaptation of my regular jeans and top! But no, it just isn’t that simple for a girl. I’m still going mainly for comfort even among the formal clothes though! And practicality – by casually doing jumping jacks in the dressing room to make sure what I’m wearing allows full range of movement. (I’m not kidding) Otherwise it’s no good. Because I would need my elbows and arms if an emergency situation comes up and I’m the only person able to save a patient by commencing CPR! (I am kidding.) So far it’s working out pretty well. I still have a lot more clothes to acquire, but I’ve got almost a month left before hospital time begins, so hopefully I’ll be all set by then! And hopefully people will take me seriously in hospital.