Chavi Karkowsky, MD, Ob/Gyn & Women's Health, 12:27AM Apr 7, 2013
See? Even these headless mannequins look like they know what they're talking about. Image By Pi. from Leiden, Holland (Lab 15 - Lab Coats) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I wore my white coat during residency, primarily because I didn't have an office. I didn't have anywhere to leave my purse, One of the professional disadvantages of female gender is the absence of reliable pockets in your clothing, so the white coat served an important purpose that way. Every morning, I loaded up my wallet and pens and keys and papers and stethoscopes and beepers in those nice deep pockets, and left everything else in the car.
When I graduated, and became a generalist attending, I stopped wearing my white coat. I had an office, after all, complete with secure place to stash my belongings. I also hate wearing layers, especially polyester ones. I'm also a relatively informal physician, and it just didn't feel like my style.
When I started working as a perinatology attending, I started out as I had in my generalist practice - sans white coat. Over the last few months, though, I've been wearing it more. Some of it had to do with the climate control in my office (permanently set to arctic). But now it's (very slightly) warmer, and I haven't stopped, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I subconciously feel that subspecialists need to be more imposing? Maybe because I no longer see "my" patients, but consult on those of others? I'm not sure what my motivations have been, or how long it will last.