Medical Librarian Brookwood Baptist Health Birmingham, Alabama
Objectives: To determine how many librarians wear white coats when joining a patient care team on rounds and what attitudes physicians and other librarians have towards librarians in white coats.
Methods: A short survey via SurveyMonkey was distributed via various listservs and targeted at librarians practicing clinical librarianship and/or serving as part of a clinical care team. The survey gathered data on personal experiences and feelings towards librarians in white coats, and information on their clinical librarianship practices and settings. An optional section asked participants to seek input on attitudes towards non-physicians in white coats from a physician at their institution. The author also sought informal feedback from their hospital’s physicians.
Results: No results have been reported, but the author expects the results to yield quantifiable data on how many librarians are wearing white coats and the setting they practice in, plus quantitative responses that demonstrate the attitudes towards white coats from both librarians and physicians.
Conclusions: Clinical librarians have been searching for ways to be seen as part of the “team” since the 1970s. White coats have been suggested as a way to impart competence and identify librarians as part of the care team. But the white coat is a traditional symbol of a physician and there are policies and long-held opinions on who can and cannot wear a white coat. This project seeks to understand what librarians are and are not wearing white coats while rounding and if wearing one could help validate the clinical librarian as an integral part of the clinical care team.