Shorter coats for first-year residents, worn here by an earlier class, are now a part of history at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Along-held tradition at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore has been curtailed for new residents. The short white coat once used to distinguish first-year residents in Hopkins' Osler Medical Training Program has been retired after recent classes of students found the custom offensive and unwanted.
The short coat was once seen as a rite of passage on the path to becoming a doctor, but students complained that the difference in uniform established a hierarchy that placed them beneath those wearing longer coats, even though they were receiving the same training. Dr. Sanjay Desai, director of the residency program, told the Baltimore Sun that he was nostalgic for the short coats, but they no longer represent the program's current values. He announced the change this spring.
The retirement of the coats isn't the first time the program has embraced change. Many years ago, first-year residents were required to wear white shirts and pants under their short, white coats.
At one time all residents were male, lived in the hospital full time and couldn't marry, Dr. Mark Andersen, physician-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, told the Baltimore Sun. "That was what society expected at the time," he added. "It was considered this complete personal commitment."