Who Normally Wears A Lab Coat?

Long before the medical doctors used white lab coats, scientists were already wearing it. The scientists wore lab coats to cover their every day street clothes when they were inside the laboratory in order to protect it from any fluids or stains their experiments might make. In the 1800’s, it was believed that scientists were more popular and respected by the people compared to the medical doctors. In order that these doctors would gain the same respect and trust the scientists have and to emphasize the transition to the scientific approach to modern medicine they also took to wearing the white lab coat. It has been said that the length of the lab coat was a symbol of seniority so the longer the lab coat was, the more prominent the doctor. However, some felt that the lab coat has become a barrier to effective communication with their patients and some have shed their white lab coats, in particular the pediatricians and psychiatrists and those in private practices.  

While more physicians continue to wear lab coats a recent study found out that while majority of patients prefer doctors to wear white coats most doctors would rather be in other clothing, like scrubs. Scrubs are the shirts and pants that we used to see on nurses, surgeons and other staff inside the operating room. The use of these cheap scrubs though has been extended outside the OR. Still, there are doctors that wear lab coats over their scrubs when doing their rounds or in consultations. And in other cases, lab coats are actually mandated by their profession or the company, and these are even provided for and care for these lab coats is done by the company assigned laundry service.

Before we go to the different types of lab coats, let us try to find out who are the professionals who wear lab coats for their work. Here are just some of the professionals that normally wear a lab coat:

  • Scientists and Research Scientists
  • Microbiologists
  • Chemists
  • Medical Practitioners:
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Lab Technicians
  • Veterinarians
  • Electronic Technicians
  • Other health care professionals

In Tunisia, teachers wear lab coats to protect their clothes from chalk while students in Argentina wear lab coat which is a symbol of learning for them. Students also wear lab coats while doing laboratory work for some of their subjects.