Survey Study Suggests Name Tags, Attire Important for Meeting Families in ICU



JAMA Internal Medicine Study Highlights

Survey Study Suggests Name Tags, Attire Important for Meeting Families in ICU


Selena Au, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., of the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services-Calgary Zone, Canada, report in a research letter the results of a survey of three medical-surgical intensive care units (ICUs) to examine the preference of family members for physician attire. (Online First)


A total of 337 (67 percent) family members of patients admitted to ICUs agreed to participate in the survey during a period from November 2010 to October 2011. The survey respondents indicated that wearing an easy-to-read name tag (77 percent), neat grooming (65 percent) and professional dress (59 percent) were important elements of a physician’s attire when first meeting a family member’s ICU physician. A minority of those surveyed felt that physician sex (3 percent), race (3 percent), age (10 percent), absence of visible tattoos (30 percent) and piercings (39 percent), or wearing a white coat (32 percent) were important, according to the results.


When study participants were asked to select their preferred physician from a group of pictures, the participants “strongly favored” physicians wearing traditional attire with the white coat. When participants were asked to select the best physician overall, they picked physicians wearing traditional attire with a white coat (52 percent), followed by scrubs (24 percent), a suit (13 percent) and casual attire (11 percent), according to the study results.


“Given the increasing experience with natalizumab in pediatric MS, to which our study may contribute, a risk-benefit analysis may favor natalizumab for pediatric breakthrough disease,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 18, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2732. Available pre-embargo to the media at


Editor’s Note: This project was supported by an establishment grant from Alberta Innovates. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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