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Evaluation of owners' attitudes towards veterinarian attire in the small animal specialty setting in North America

Robb, K.A.; Rossi, T.A.; Tansey, C.; Hybki, G.C.; Murphy, L.A.; Nakamura, R.K.; Chen, D.Y.

Veterinary Medicine and Science 5(1): 48-60

2019


ISSN/ISBN: 2632-0517
PMID: 30394693
DOI: 10.1002/vms3.130
Accession: 065779348

Previous studies in human medicine have found that patients prefer their doctors to be more formally attired, and that this influences their trust and confidence in their physician. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how veterinarians' attire affected owners' impressions and trust in the small animal specialty medicine setting. A questionnaire based study conducted during a 2-month period at an urban based small animal private practice specialty hospital. Respondents completed a written survey after reviewing pictures of the same male and female veterinarian in five different dress styles. Respondents were asked for their preference for male and female veterinarian attire in different clinical scenarios and whether it would affect their willingness to discuss sensitive issues. Two hundred and thirty-eight questionnaires were completed during the study period with 76.1% of respondents being female. Female respondents did not have a preference to how a male or female veterinarian was attired with the attire examples provided. However, male respondents tended to have fairly equal response rates between no preference and preferring a male veterinarian to be in either clinical or professional attire. Male owners either had no preference or preferred their male veterinarian to be attired in clinical or professional attire and had no preference or preferred their female veterinarian to be clinical attire. Most respondents do not feel it is necessary for a veterinarian to wear a white coat or neck ties and most do not feel it is inappropriate for a veterinarian to wear blue jeans, have coloured hair, or have visible tattoos.

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