Dentists have an image, whether intentional or otherwise. Whereas they may want patients, colleagues and others to judge them on their skills, capabilities, accumulated knowledge and experience, and on their behaviours, the reality is that first impressions count. What are the implications for dentists?
What to Wear for Work?
There are three crucial elements to medical workwear: is it safe, professional and comfortable?
What does safe workwear for dentists mean?
Like other medical professionals, dentists must protect themselves, and their patients, from infection.
For examinations and procedures and, dentists will typically wear face masks. However, they will also wear protective clothing. This could be a tunic and trousers, scrubs or a lab coat.
Wearing a uniform at work helps establish a professional image, however, wearing outside the workplace can be counter-productive.
For example, many people will assume, if a dentist wears scrubs outside the surgery, that these have been used and are therefore dirty and unhygienic. In other words, scrubs are far less appealing to the public when taken out of context.
Creating a Professional Image for Dentists
While the choice of uniform might appear obvious, not all uniform styles are the same.
A plain, traditional lab coat might appear dowdy, as may ill-fitting, drab-looking scrubs.
Medical uniforms need to be both functional and comfortable to wear, but this does not mean they cannot look good on the wearer.
Modern workwear for healthcare professionals, including dentists, has evolved.
Is style important?
Obviously, dentists are not parading down the catwalk, but a uniform that makes them feel confident as well as comfortable helps transmit a positive professional image to patients.
Dentists, then, are not the only ones to benefit from the confidence that a well-tailored uniform can bring. Many visitors to dental surgeries are nervous, for example, so the right kind of professional presence is likely to help calm their nerves and offer them reassurance.
This is what dressing for success means for dentists: it is not about establishing bragging rights, but instead contributing to the whole process of care for others.
What a Professional Presence Means
Well-designed medical uniforms create a professional presence, and this presence communicates non-verbally to patients.
It offers reassurance, knowledge, authority and confidence. It clearly identifies the wearer as a professional, an expert, but it can also help to humanise them, to make them approachable.
Contemporary uniform designs can help dentists to strike this ideal balance. Pastelli UK offers a range of garments for men and women.
The concept is to bring the same elements such as attention to detail, quality and innovation as would apply to designer clothing.
Pastelli’s selection of tunics, trousers and lab coats effectively reinvent medical uniforms as garments that are hardwearing, extremely comfortable and subtly stylish.
In 2007, the British Dental Journal published a survey in which patients expressed a firm preference for well-dressed dental professionals.
What Pastelli UK’s range offers are clean lines, a selection of colours and a dynamic combination of clarity and cutting-edge design.
“Appearance can impact on success. For commercial dental practices, it should be a core branding principle, ensuring that the image a dentist projects is aligned with the practice’s brand values and business objectives.”
Joanne Hunt, Pastelli UK