My employer just instituted a new dress code policy stating that pharmacists MUST wear their white coats. I know that most of you are saying, "Big deal; I wear a white coat everyday." Well, I don't. In fact, I don't even have to wear a tie to work (and even with the new dress code, I still don't). Our dress code has always been very casual. As long as you looked professional (button down shirt, no jeans), you were fine.
I don't know how others feel about this, but I absolutely hate the white coat. The only good thing about them is that they have pockets to hold your pens. Otherwise, they get dirty, especially the sleeves which get covered in black dust which must come from the toner in the laser jet printer. They're also pretty restrictive. You don't have as much range of motion in your arms unless you get a coat that's a little too big for you, and then you feel like you're swimming in it. I get hot wearing the coat. Finally, since I'm constantly hurrying from one side of the pharmacy to the other, I tend to get the pockets of the white coat stuck on corners, especially the corners of the bins. Maybe the best reason not to wear the stupid coat is that I firmly believe we look better without them, or at the very least, I certainly do. I feel like I dress pretty well. I'm thin. The coat makes me look bulky and overly nerdy.
I feel that the time of the white coat has passed. At this point, it's only a symbol of status. It's designed to tell people that we're medical professionals because we wear a white coat. Since most of us are no longer compounding prescriptions on a regular basis, we're not using them to shield our clothing from aquaphor or coal tar. They no longer serve a practical purpose.
I love the casual dress code. I think it allows me to look professional while still appearing approachable. I think this look encourages customers to ask questions because I don't look as intimidating as someone in a white coat.
In any case... I'm currently rebelling against the new dress code. I've decided that I will not don my white coat until someone threatens me with some kind of punishment. I'm not about to lose my job over a stupid coat, but I want to see just how far I can push this thing. I get to work early every day. I never call out sick. I work hard. My coworkers like me. Our customers like me. I dress well. Surely, my employer wouldn't fire me over refusing to wear a stupid white coat.... at least I would hope so. With so many piss poor pharmacists out there, there's no way they can justify doing anything to me over it.