Why is it that when I wear my white doctor’s coat, people call me sir but when I’m wearing jeans and sweatshirt people ask me for an ID when I pay by credit card?
Although these days I’m not so sure that my white coat even has much power left. Maybe it’s all the dirt and nastiness on it.
You may have heard about the “white coat effect”–that patients tense up around physicians (e.g. in the doctor’s office) and their vital signs, like blood pressure, may be on the high side. The last few times I’ve been in clinic and manually taken blood pressure on my patients, their pressures are just fine. So either I have a calming effect or my patients aren’t taking me seriously. My money is on the latter.