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Wearing a white coat in theory class during medical school, is it justified? reply to development and validation of the knowledge, attitude and practice questionnaire (LAUNDERKAP) regarding white coat use among medical students during clinical practice

      Recently we have gone through an article regarding the use of white lab coats during the clinical practice class. The author developed the knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) questionnaire and distributed it to the medical students of Malaysia.

      Chan CK, Lam TY, Mohanavel L, et al. Development and validation of the knowledge, attitude and practice questionnaire (LAUNDERKAP) regarding white coat use among medical students during clinical practice. Am J Infect Control. In press.

      That was a good article and a good study in view of infection control. As we know white lab coat is not only made up of white cloth but is an image of the medical personnel of the population. The medical fraternity can't be imagined without a white coat.
      • Aggarwal R.
      The withering shine of white coat.
      A medical college is an ideal place of discipline and all medical students who are future clinicians have to follow the rules and regulations of the medical college. When students enter college, they have to purchase a few important materials like books, stethoscopes, and a white lab coat.

      The Med Matter. Things medical students must buy for first-year MBBS. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://themedmatter.in/things-medical-students-must-buy-for-first-year-mbbs/.

      They have to wear a white lab coat all day including theory classes, practical classes, and in the library too. Due to this discipline students wear the white lab coat from their room and attend the school. They remove the lab coat when they reach back into their room. The whole day they wear the lab coat not even sparing the canteen or washroom. Due to this practice, students carry microorganisms and pathogens in their white lab coats.
      • Treakle A.M.
      • Thom K.A.
      • Furuno J.P.
      • Strauss S.M.
      • Harris A.D.
      • Perencevich E.N.
      Bacterial contamination of health care workers' white coats.
      ,
      • Muhadi SA
      • Aznamshah NA
      • Jahanfar S.
      A cross sectional study on the microbial contamination of the medical student's white coats.
      ,
      • Banu A
      • Anand M
      • Nagi N
      White coats as a vehicle for bacterial dissemination.
      Wearing the lab coat during the practical class is mandatory because it serves as part of students’ personal protective equipment. A white lab coat prevents the contamination of students’ personal wear and also prevents any hazardous accidents. So, wearing the white coat during the practical class is justified, but wearing it the whole day is not fully understood. Theory classes where the faculties are taking didactic lectures in a large classroom are theory-based classes. Students here are not exposed to any hazardous or infectious material. The same thing is also applicable to the teachers. So then why white coat wearing is a practice acknowledged in these classes. We don't know when this trend started but this is continuing for a long time. In many meetings and court hearings also the clinicians, who are called for an expert opinion, present with their white lab coats which are completely unjustified.
      • Hochberg MS.
      The doctor's white coat–an historical perspective.
      Wearing a white coat gives you an identity about your profession but everywhere you don't have to wear it. This practice not only makes your white coat dirty but also plays an important role in spreading an infection to you and your friends and family. Many institutes and countries have stopped using a white coat for all grades of medical professionals and changed it to other colors. They have also updated the policy for the use of white coats which still needs to be corrected worldwide.
      We conclude the white coat is a symbol of the medical profession. The rational use of white coats in the medical fraternity has only come from personal thinking hence to overcome this habit, one needs to comply by making rules and strict follow-up. Minimum they learn that where to not wear the white lab coats.

      References

      1. Chan CK, Lam TY, Mohanavel L, et al. Development and validation of the knowledge, attitude and practice questionnaire (LAUNDERKAP) regarding white coat use among medical students during clinical practice. Am J Infect Control. In press.

        • Aggarwal R.
        The withering shine of white coat.
        Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2012; 15: 63
      2. The Med Matter. Things medical students must buy for first-year MBBS. Accessed April 12, 2022. https://themedmatter.in/things-medical-students-must-buy-for-first-year-mbbs/.

        • Treakle A.M.
        • Thom K.A.
        • Furuno J.P.
        • Strauss S.M.
        • Harris A.D.
        • Perencevich E.N.
        Bacterial contamination of health care workers' white coats.
        Am J Infect Control. 2009; 37: 101-105
        • Muhadi SA
        • Aznamshah NA
        • Jahanfar S.
        A cross sectional study on the microbial contamination of the medical student's white coats.
        Malayasian J Microbiol. 2007; 3: 35-38
        • Banu A
        • Anand M
        • Nagi N
        White coats as a vehicle for bacterial dissemination.
        J Clin Diagn Res. 2012; 6: 1381-1384
        • Hochberg MS.
        The doctor's white coat–an historical perspective.
        Virtual Mentor. 2007; 9: 310-314