Why Doctors Wear White Coat?

It has been observed that the uniform is often associated with the profession, such as the khaki uniform used by police officers, the black coat worn by lawyers, the white coat worn by doctors, etc. But have you ever wondered why doctors traditionally wear white coats?

Several medical professionals in white coats greet us as we tour the hospital. Professionals in any field, be they medicine, law, or another, have their own unique personalities. Not at all! The coats worn by doctors and lawyers, for example, are typically black for the former and white for the latter. You might not know this, but doctors wear white coats for a reason.

History of White Coats

It may come as a surprise to find that doctors have traditionally and historically worn nothing but black until about the late 19th century. As well as representing their somber presence (which was usually linked with death), the black attire worn by clinicians in the earlier time served a variety of practical purposes, such as hiding soiled clothing as well as the unsightly stains connected with their profession.

Reason for Wearing White Coat

The most common reason for a doctor for wearing white is so that they may be easily identified by their patients and coworkers. This custom dates back to the late 18th century, when qualified surgeons and, later, physicians, began donning white lab coats to set themselves apart from quacks who peddled false hope in place of evidence-based care.


Modern-day supporters wear medical scrubs for a variety of reasons, including as a sign of professionalism, ethics, and unwavering dedication to alleviating the suffering of the sick and injured. Around 97% of medical colleges have a "white coat ceremony," a rite of passage & transition from a college student to being a physician, which often takes place soon after a candidate graduates and obtains their degree.

Why a white color coat only?

The new medical uniform standard is white, and there's a strong reason for that. This color, which symbolizes innocence and cleanliness, conveys the physician's vow to cause no harm. Moreover, the color white is a symbol of purity and innocence.

Certain religious figures, including Moses, Jesus, as well as the Saints, are shown as always or almost always donning all white. The color white is associated with purity and also represents seriousness of intent, the elimination of infection, and other similar themes.

Aside from this, the white coat serves as a symbol of professionalism and distance between both the doctor and patient, conveying the doctor's medical aim. Most importantly, white is associated with calm and serenity, making it the ideal color for medical settings where doctors want their patients to feel at ease while being treated.

 That's why medical professionals always dress in white. Since doctors are expected to wear white coats at all times, patients are led to believe that they would be better able to maintain a happy attitude despite the stressful circumstances of their hospital stay. As a result, the white coat became the standard uniform for medical professionals in the twentieth century.

Are white coats mandatory for all doctors?

There is no hard and fast rule that states all doctors must wear white coats. Psychiatrists and pediatricians, for instance, often report that their patients feel more at ease when they dress professionally. Since its first in 1896, the "white coat syndrome" has been linked to high blood pressure in as many as 30 percent of patients. White coat syndrome may not seem like a big deal, but studies have shown otherwise.

Patients having white coat syndrome with elevated blood pressure have mortality rate twice as high as the ones with the white coat syndrome with normal blood pressure, as reported in a survey. Some doctors choose not to wear white coats for personal reasons, rather than because of concerns about spreading disease or accommodating patients with genuine fears of doctors.

Pros of wearing white coats

Through an internal poll of doctors in white coats, we learn the following benefits:

  • A physician in a white coat is easily recognized by patients, nurses, & fellow medical professionals.
  • The white coat has plenty of roomy pockets for storing necessities like a stethoscope as well as other tools.
  • Conformity with accepted norms of professional conduct for the medical profession
  • Keep an eye out for potential sources of contamination, such as patients and their surroundings.
  • It gives off an air of tidiness.
  • Wearing a white coat can help keep you warm in the hospital.
  • They also wear white coat during surgery to prevent patients and own contamination.


Another study found that 82% of pediatricians and 83% of psychiatrists did not appreciate wearing white coats to work because they felt it was impairing interactions with their young and mentally ill patients.

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