Clothes Make the Man -or Woman!
Yesterday, I accompanied a friend to the doctor to provide moral support and also to "translate". My friend historically has had a very negative experience with the medical establishment and hasn't always had an advocate for her as she navigated the complex system. So I knew it was important to her that I tagged along as her "insider."
The visit itself went very well until my friend went to have blood drawn. The phlebotomist was overly made. sported fake nails, a low cut blouse and a lab coat with stains that I didn't even want to guess what they were. I could only imagine what the rest of her outfit under the baggy lab coat-shroud looked like.
Not only was the outfit distracting, she gave the appearance of someone who did not care enough about her work, her profession or her patients to present a professional appearance. Rightly or wrongly, I immediately thought she gave patients the impression of being less than competent.
She did a successful venipuncture on my friend on the second attempt. She did not have a badge so I did not know her name or title, but I was totally "underwhelmed" with the experience- as was my friend.
How many times have we looked around the workplace and seen colleagues sporting attire that was inappropriate for the workplace or untidy in some way? If laboratorians don't leave the lab or have patient contact is it , therefore, OK for them to be careless about their attire and appearance? People do judge us by our dress-they make all sorts of assumptions based on appearance.
Professionals, like clinical laboratorians, should be cognizant that whether or not clothes make the man - or woman, they sure do create a powerful and lasting impression.