Swedish Doctors’ New Dress Code

Most people probably don’t think of Sweden, my native country, as a fashion Mecca, but we did produce some pretty fashionable people, like Greta Garbo, who symbolized the black-and-white movie era. In the 1970’s, we had ABBA with their high-heeled boots, and now, H&M is selling Swedish fashion even in New York City. Of course, then there was Pippi Longstocking with her unmatched socks, and now we have the new regulation Swedish physician dress style.

Not everyone is happy with the new style. In Läkartidningen, the Swedish medical journal, I read mixed reviews of what has happened since the abolition of the traditional doctors’ lab coat. The doctor in the picture is a senior nephrologist, whose comments are captioned next to the image:

“The V-neck is rather steep. The button that holds it together is often broken. For women, the neckline can be too deep. It would be good if the opening could be made smaller with a piece of cloth.”

“The ID tag lacks professional title.”

“My name tag, which identifies me as a physician, has gone through the wash. And the print is rather small. I would like a printed or embroidered marking with ‘Physician’.”

“The scrub pockets are too small.”

“Stethoscope in pant pocket.”

“The clothes are a little baggy. No particular details or style. No fit. The top is like a bag you pull over yourself. There is no opportunity for variation according to temperature or work situation. But if it is cold, you are allowed to wear your own T-shirt. It would be great to be able to wear a short-sleeved jacket over the top or a polo shirt instead of it in the summer.”

This country doctor, on the other hand, still gets to choose his own shirt and tie every morning to wear under an all-cotton embroidered long white lab coat.

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