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PTA Blog Talk

Dress Like You Mean It

Published May 27, 2008 9:37 PM by Jason Marketti

When I first graduated from PTA school and began work in a hospital I did not even consider wearing scrubs. I wore khakis, a button down shirt and a tie. I gave up the tie after several months but kept with the pants and shirts and continue to do so even today. 

The neurologist we take our daughter to (she has bilateral temporal lobe epilepsy) dresses like he just came out of a GQ photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz. Why can't therapists look like that? 

I don't suggest we all dress in suits and ties, but pants and button down shirts are professional, so are polo shirts, especially if the polo shirts have the company logo on them. 

Now, let me discuss scrubs-not the T.V. show but the ones some people wear. Look around at your work site, count how many departments wear scrubs. Then consider your patient; they see countless people wearing scrubs coming in and out of their room and they can become confused as to who was who. (Are you the housekeeper? the nurse? the doctor?)

Better yet, let me wear sweat pants and a pocket T-shirt to work. Aren't they the same comfort level as scrubs? I could even coordinate the colors of the sweat pants and pocket T's. Since I have to bend, squat and constantly move, wouldn't that be a better style of dress for the work I do? There is not much difference between pocket T-shirts and scrub tops. Would the patients respect what I had to say, would they still think I was a professional?

Well, maybe if I wore a lab coat over my pocket T-shirt and sweat pants, that would look alright wouldn't it? I would look professional; I could even embroider my name in the lab coat.  What do you think?

3 comments

As a PTA student in my first clinical experience in a SKN facility, I find that I need to address two things: 1) to represent myself professionally and appropriately, (which is absolutely influenced by the program's expectations); and 2) to be sure that I do not bring home anything that I may be exposed to.

  I attempt to address this by dressing in clothes that I call my "uniform": comfortable and professional looking khakis and shirts, covered by a lab coat.  When I come home, I change IMMEDIATELY, and these clothes are washed separately.

Richardson July 5, 2008 3:06 PM
Providence RI

I own and operate a home based practice that includes some Physical Therapy and some Private Exercise.......Obviously the person in the acute care hospital has to wear scrubs.

As for everyone else, Comfort and mobility for us as practitioners is very important but I am more concerned with the impression I give to patients and whether or not they see me as clean and hygenic, and professional.  I wear polo shirts, golf shirts and nicely pleated Khaki shorts in the summer and the same shirts with addidas or Nike exercise type clothing in the winter.  It's a relaxed setting in patient's homes and this seems to work for me.

Jay , PT - Owner, Self June 2, 2008 8:19 PM
Los Angeles CA

I WORK IN AN ACUTE HOSPITAL AND DEAL WITH PATIENTS IN ALL KINDS OF ISOLATION ALL DAY; I PUT SCRUBS ON AT THE HOSPITAL,CLEAN EVERY DAY. I TAKE THEM OFF AND LEAVE THEM AT THE HOSPITAL; I WEAR A CLEAN STARCHED WHITE LAB COAT. MOST IMPORTANTLY I WEAR A NAME BADGE. I INTRODUCE MYSELF TO THE PATIENT EVERY TIME I MEET THEM. THE PATIENT KNOWS EXACTLY WHO I AM. AND I LEAVE VRE,MRSA,ESBL AND EVERY OTHER CONTAMINANT AT WORK AND DO NOT BRING IT HOME. THAT IS WHY I WEAR SCRUBS AND A NAME BADGE. NEXT TIME YOU HEAR OF MRSA IN THE COMMUNITY, DID YOU TAKE IT THERE ON THE CLOTHES YOU WORE TO AND FROM THE HOSPITAL,GROCERY STORE,LITTLE LEAGUE GAME,HEALTH CLUB ON YOUR WAY TO AND FROM WORK? IS IT IN YOUR HOME?

VICKI June 1, 2008 7:38 PM
CHICAGO IL

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About this Blog


    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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