Should male doctors in Sri Lanka wear a necktie to be recognized and respected?
Introduction: European cultural norms have influenced physicians’ attire in Sri Lanka. The necktie is one such item of clothing which is worn to be recognized and respected as professionals. This study was carried out to assess the perceptions of doctors and patients towards male doctors wearing neckties while providing patient care.
Methododology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from doctors and patients.
Results: The study included 105 doctors (57% males) and 333 patients (54% males). Mean ages of the doctors and patients were 37 years (95% C.I. 36-39) and 47 years (95% C.I. 45-49) respectively. Sixty-nine percent of the patients had completed secondary education or above. None of the patients were aware of the risk of spreading infections by wearing a necktie. Of the 41% of doctors who thought it was unnecessary to wear a necktie, 95% believed the necktie can spread infections. Ninety-five percent of patients believed doctors should wear neckties to be identified and respected and to maintain trustworthiness.
Conclusions: None of the patients were aware of the possible risk of spreading infections by wearing a necktie, while most of the doctors who thought neckties were unnecessary also believed neckties can spread infections. Almost all patients thought that doctors should wear a necktie to be recognized and respected. Therefore, implementing a change in dress policy for doctors is a challenging task in Sri Lanka.
Copyright (c) 2019 Prabath Kularathne Abeysundara, A A N Nishad, K Balendran, G M Pabasara, P K Bandara, W N M Perera, E G H E De Silva, S T De Silva, Maheswaran Umakanth, P S Wijesinghe
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