The story started in the locker room and made its way to the lounge and theatres. The beginning of it goes something like this…
“You look terrible, like really terrible. Does everyone look that bad?”
These were the words uttered to my young colleague. She had shared a photo taken in a work journal with her sibling. The funny thing is none of us thought she looked terrible. In fact she looked like her usual professional self. Upon arriving in the locker room she left her spiffy casual clothes and shoes stuffed in her locker. She donned “greens” and tucked her hair haphazardly into a paper “hat”. Some of us try to get fancy by grabbing greens that are the same colour but that’s as fashionable as we get. We’d be super happy if the health region would let us wear cloth hats. They add colour at least and help contain hair better but we still cover our faces with masks. We don’t wear jewellery and most of us don’t go to heavy on the make up. Many female OR personnel wear toques or hats to work as it saves fixing “hat hair” at the end of the day. The guys often aren’t clean-shaven as their face hides behind a mask.
Who us? We look bad? Welcome to Unisex one size fits nobody clothing.
You don’t go into the medical field because you want to dress well and have lunch at fancy restaurants. You don’t get into fast paced saving of lives in the Operating Room because you bought into the prestige of power suits.
You see it doesn’t matter if we look like we just rolled out of bed and dawned wrinkled clothes. What matters is that our compassion, knowledge and technical skills are at the ready. That we respond immediately to our patient and their pressing needs. How we dress and when we last ate or emptied our bladders is of little importance to us.
Our patients and their families don’t focus on our apparel but rather see competent caring individuals that they are going to trust with their life. I’ve checked in a young sick lad in holding once and his mother told me I looked like a guardian angel.
So on behalf of all wrinkled unisex wearing medical personnel “let’s all look bad” together but, despite that, do our best for each and every patient.