Investigating Patient Preferences in Medical Student Attire in the Outpatient Otolaryngology Setting

Leah Sax, Kevin Wong, Kunal R. Shetty, Anand K. Devaiah, Jessica Levi, Gregory A. Grillone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The authors sought to investigate patient preferences on physician and medical student attire in the outpatient otolaryngology setting. Methods: A prospective sample of 50 (23 males, 27 females) patients presenting to an otolaryngology clinic in a North American teaching hospital, Boston, MA, were included. Patients were seen by a researcher wearing a white coat and either (1) a shirt and tie or (2) surgical scrubs, then completed a Likert-style survey evaluating feelings of trust, comfort, and professionalism. Statistical significance was set at α = 0.05. Results: Most patients (82%, 41/50) believed that attire was important. Men and older patients were significantly more likely to believe attire was important (P =.01 and.005, respectively). Patients were significantly more comfortable when seen by a provider wearing a shirt and tie compared to scrubs (U = 109.5, P =.021); however, there was no difference in feelings of trust or professionalism (P =.5* and.6*, respectively). Conclusions: Physician attire is important for patients presenting to otolaryngology clinic. Patients favored a white coat with a shirt and tie. Level of Evidence: NA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP269-NP273
JournalEar, Nose and Throat Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • attire
  • dress
  • medical school
  • medical student
  • professionalism
  • undergraduate medical education


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