Congratulations to all recent medical school graduates and new residents! Now that you have an MD behind your name, you get to ditch the short student coat and finally put on a sleek long(er) coat like the ones you see other MDs wear around the hospital.
You probably know to choose a lab coat that is high quality and made in a style that fits you well. It may seem superficial and frivolous, but it actually isn’t: sometimes perception is reality and the reality is that patients perceive doctors in white coats to be more competent than their peers without.
But how many lab coats should you have as a new doctor?
The answer to this question really depends on your access to a washing machine. Just for the sake of hygiene and sanitation, you’ll want to wash your lab coat after each wear. So if you are able to do laundry every day, you might be able to get by with one lab coat – but if you’re washing it every day there is a greater likelihood that the coat will start to experience some wear and tear pretty quick.
We recommend having at least 3-5 lab coats for this exact reason. That way if your favorite coat gets ripped or stained, or if you don’t have time to wash them after every shift, you still have a nice professional lab coat to get you through your next shift. Optimally a practicing doctor should have five lab coats, one for every day of the week, though as you continue your medical career you might find that your white coat wardrobe grows along with you!