Johns Hopkins ends tradition of short white lab coats for first-year residents: 5 things to know

The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore will retire short white coats traditionally worn by interns amid growing complaints from younger residents, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Here are five things to know.

1. First-year residents have donned the short white lab coats after entering Johns Hopkins' Osler Medical Training Program for generations. The length of the coat identified interns and set them apart from more experienced residents, who have worn a longer style, according to the report.

2. Effective in July, first-year residents will no longer wear the shorter coats. The newest class of residents will wear longer coats as other residents do.

3. Hospital officials attribute the decision to growing complaints in recent years. Younger residents increasingly have taken issue with the short coat, saying it is not needed and could lead to patients perceiving they are not yet prepared for their role, according to the report.

4. Sanjay Virendra Desai, MD, director of the Osler Medical Training Program and associate professor of medicine, said in an email to residents obtained by The Baltimore Sun: "Today, it does not promote the values which it was intended to promote. Instead, it represents a physical symbol of the past, and of an excessive rigidity and hierarchy. This is unfortunate, but it is real. All institutions have to adapt to stay relevant and to ensure their traditions continue to uphold their core values. It would be a mistake for us not to."

5. First-year residents in Johns Hopkins' Osler Medical Training Program will join residents in other Johns Hopkins programs, such as surgery, that wear longer coats, according to the report. The report notes longer coats are also worn by residents at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, as well as by residents at other area hospitals.

Read the full report here.


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