Patients' perception of military doctors in fracture clinics--does the wearing of uniform make a difference?

J R Nav Med Serv. 2005;91(1):45-7.


We performed a study during our Trauma Week when patients who were referred from the accident department with fractures were reviewed in our fracture clinic. During our Trauma Week, Mister Thomas, Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon or Surgeon Lieutenant Commander McLean, Specialist Registrar in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery reviewed a total of 93 patients in fracture clinic. All patients were given an anonymous questionnaire regarding their perceptions of their attending clinician, 77 were completed. Forty-nine questionnaires regarding Surgeon Lieutenant Commander McLean and 28 regarding Mister Thomas were available for analysis. During the Trauma Week all patients were seen in the same location in identical cubicles by either of the two clinicians, consultations were typically brief lasting about five minutes. Throughout the week the clinicians, one military and one civilian, wore differing attire. The military uniform comprised Royal Navy number four action working dress. The civilian attire comprised 'dog-robbers' (jacket, shirt with tie and smart trousers). The hypothesis tested was that the use of military uniform might alter patients' perceptions of their attending clinician. Our results appear to demonstrate that the attire of the attending clinician does not adversely influence patients' perceptions of their attending clinician.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Clothing / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel*
  • Orthopedics*
  • Physician-Patient Relations