Chelsea Soares, MD 2018
The history of medicine is full of wonder, struggle, and some crazy ideas. When I look back and rediscover what the profession used to be like I think not only of the trials and tribulations that came with discovering new treatments and diseases but of what it meant to dress professionally. The image of the bubonic plague doctor is a classic example. An unrecognizable doctor came to your door wearing a robe, mask full of herbs, hat, gloves and holding a stick. This outfit had a purpose and that was to prevent the doctor from acquiring the disease (and quiet possibly to scare the disease right out of you). Fast-forward to the 1900’s where doctors are now wearing all white outfits and head mirrors. A very plain look, but iconic with the head mirror designed for examining the patients nose and throat. Both of these outfits were designed for a purpose, and I think it is time to rediscover the purpose of how doctors dress today.
What does it look like to dress like a doctor in 2016? Most people would say that dressing professionally means wearing a pair of black dress pants, long sleeve dress shirt that’s tucked in, with a nice belt and pair of dress shoes. If you are in an extra classy field of medicine it may even include a tie and white coat. Or maybe if you are in a more relaxed specialty dressing professionally may include khakis and a nice shirt. Now these outfits aren’t bad, they are just…boring. And hospitals themselves are…boring. Adult hospitals especially lack creativity. Everything in the hospital is a safe and neutral colour. Which in turn is how we also chose to dress, safe and neutral. I think it is time to redefine what it means to look like a professional in the healthcare field.
Hospitals have so little artwork and creativity in them already, so why not fix that and become the source of it? I believe that doctors should wear brighter colours and fun designs that can bring smiles to their patient’s faces. I created both my pieces with the idea of being a walking piece of artwork using already known artists like van Gogh and Monet in my designs. These outfits were created in hopes of bringing a little happiness into someone’s day. Maybe a patient of yours is an art lover and can identify the paintings, or maybe they don’t and ask you about your outfit, regardless of the circumstance the outfit is a conversation starter used to build rapport with a patient. We have so many different tools in medicine so why not use what we wear as a tool to bring a smile to someone’s face and brightens someone’s day?
Reproduced here with permission from Arts in Medicine