The impact of the appearance of the anaesthetist on the patient's perception of the pre-operative visit

Anaesthesia. 1991 Dec;46(12):1056-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2044.1991.tb09923.x.


The clinician's appearance is often considered a symbol which identifies and defines specific characteristics of the individual. Opinion of both lay and medical personnel on appropriate clothing inclines towards formal dress. Our aim was to assess the effect of the anaesthetist's appearance during a ward visit on the patient's evaluation of either the visit or the anesthetist himself. In our sample of 66 patients we found no evidence that the style of dress (formal: suit and tie, informal: jeans and open-necked shirt) affected that evaluation. However, when 138 patients were asked to rate the desirability of items of clothing for a male hospital doctor they expressed a preference for traditional clothing; a suit was rated as desirable and jeans as one of the four most undesirable items. We conclude that despite the conservatism of expressed opinions, the clothing worn by the anaesthetist is irrelevant to the patient's satisfaction with the visit.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anesthesiology*
  • Clothing / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Preoperative Care / psychology*