18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Suit Experiment

I'm a young woman and I don't look like the stereotypical cardiologist. So, I've become accustomed to the confused stares that I get when I introduce myself as a cardiologist. Often I suspect that my young looks give me less credibility than if I was a man and had some grey hair.

Normally, I wear pants and a shirt or sweater or a dress under my lab coat. I've never been one to wear a suit to work. But today, I put on my black pant suit and blue button down shirt, without the lab coat, to see if there's a difference.

One of my colleagues who noticed said, "I'll vote for you!" suggesting that I look like a candidate for office. Others complimented me on how nice I looked today. And I had a few questions of what the special occasion is.

There definitely is a difference in how patients react. Today, I felt like I got fewer of those looks of astonishment from new patients. And, patients seemed to take what I had to say more at face value.

Maybe I should wear a suit more often.
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Jamie said...

Hey, I'm with you on this. I'm almost 25, but am commonly asked when I'm going to graduate from high school. High school! I get dubious stares from anyone who hears that I'm a PhD student, and it drives me nuts. I've been thinking of getting a "born on date" tattooed on my forehead. Perhaps I'll give suits a try first, though.

Anonymous said...

i have no idea what you wear, so keep that in mind when reading this question, please.

why wouldn't you wear professional attire to work? most of your patients are elderly and clearly expect and appreciate it? it helps inspire confidence in you, given your youthful appearance. wouldn't you want your patients to have confidence in you, not be worried about your being too young? if you only have 20 minutes to see them, shouldn't they focus on what you have to say during the 20 minutes?

VeganHeartDoc said...

I do wear professional attire. I just don't usually wear a suit. Most physicians don't wear suits every day.

herself75 said...

I feel ya! of course you are only a montholder than me. but, you can add me to the suit shopping list. new job. more responsibility. more money. time to step up from business casual to all business!

chrissoup said...

When I was in my 20s and needed to make sure people respected what I said, I'd dress in what my husband called my "authority suit." It works, as you found out. :-)