The kind of lab coat that a health care worker wears tells his or her position in the industry, and the length spells hierarchy. MDs before were the only ones who get to wear long lab coats. And as the it gets shorter, it means lower position in the hierarchy. Only nurses were allowed to wear three-quarter sleeves, while the mid-length are for other residents of a hospital or clinic. If you’re but an intern, you can only wear a shorter one. Realizing the importance of a lab coat in patient care eventually ruined this taboo.
Today, hospital staff gets to choose whatever style and color they want to wear like how they freely choose of their medical scrubs, except for those working in medical institutions that still uphold a more traditional culture. Physicians don’t care much about whether they are wearing the one that fits in the so called lab coat etiquette. In fact, many of them purchase the consultation type, which are basically the shortest among the selections in the market. And if nurses were only allowed to wear those three-fourth sleeves, they can now use full-length versions of whatever color of their choice just like that. Even interns and students can do so as well.
Clinical educators, experienced doctors, and the new generation of nurses even favor amount of stain in these medical wears as basis of superiority. It has become a joke that the more kaleidoscope one’s lab coat looks, the more senior that person is. Whether it meant hard work, experience, full work load, or the other way around, you could easily tell when you’re in the health care industry.
Comfort, fashion, and capacity to protect its wearer are the basis of choosing lab coat, not the length anymore. Those who always have overwhelming tasks ahead of them usually choose the basic styles to be sure they are comfortable all day long. They may wear them along with medical scrubs that feature soil release system to avoid the hassles cleaning of stubborn stains. Some choose to have cotton-made for that doubtless comfort. Others prefer the fashionable designs, ensuring that they look perfect and really professional. Still others want the best protection of antimicrobial system, knowing they work in an environment where harmful pathogens are easily picked. There are also those that need specialized types of lab coat such as those with ESD and anti-stat.