On white coats and professional development: the formal and the hidden curricula.

Title

On white coats and professional development: the formal and the hidden curricula.

Creator

Wear D

Publisher

Annals of Internal Medicine

Date

1998
1998-11

Description

White coat ceremonies are a recent phenomenon in medical education. Selected as a symbol by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to impress upon medical students the importance of compassion and humility, the white coat has had a long association with all things medical, scientific, and healing. It is also associated with the attributes of purity and goodness traditionally symbolized by the color white. Thus, its selection as the material focus of the white coat ceremony seems natural. This article situates the white coat ceremony as a curricular event and suggests that, in addition to having the meanings cited above, the white coat has other meanings that fall into the realm of the hidden curriculum–it can symbolize caregiving hierarchies and spheres of practice, the social and economic privilege of physicians, and medicine's well-established practices of determining membership in the profession. Finally, this paper suggests several other ceremonies or rituals that may be better than the white coat ceremony for encouraging compassion and humility in medical students.

Subject

Humans; *Curriculum; *Ceremonial Behavior; *Clothing; *Symbolism; Semantics; Medical; *Education

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

734–737

Issue

9

Volume

129

Citation

Wear D, “On white coats and professional development: the formal and the hidden curricula.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed October 27, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/5267.

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