“I’ll see all of you at noon at the Foundation House,” I stated as I reminded the Year I Mayo Medical School students of their meeting with prospective students. “Is it Mayo wear?” a voice said, and I could hear the hopeful anticipation that I would say “no” in that voice. “Yes, it is Mayo wear” I responded with authority; and so on that day and at the appointed hour, they all showed up and were attired just as I expected — they were all in their Mayo wear.
Mayo wear — it’s not a new line of clothing designed to promote health, nor is it a codified uniform of garments that Mayo doctors wear. It is our way of showing respect and honoring those who trust us with their lives — our patients.
Like so many good and lasting things, the professional dress of Mayo physicians was something that was gifted to us by our founders — Drs. William and Charlie Mayo. To separate the physician from the patient by placing the doc in a white coat was not something that the doctors at Mayo found to be favorable. Rather they saw our professional dress as a way of showing our respect and honor at being able to serve patients.
Our students are taught early on that professional dress is an important component of Mayo culture. We tell the students that by dressing in a manner that is conservative and professional, they say to the patients — I respect you, I am privileged to serve you, and I put on my best clothing in your honor.
We also remind them that Mayo wear helps to provide the patient with confidence in them and thus elicit the trust that is so critical to the doctor-patient relationship.
So how do we describe Mayo wear to the students — well in a word, it is conservative. It is a little bit Brooks Bros. and a little bit J. Crew. You can find it at high end department stores or you can find it at consignment stores.
You need not spend lots of money on Mayo wear, but you must insure that you take the care to look your very best as you serve those folks who seek our care. It is not our Sunday best, but it is sure our Monday best. It is designed for both men and women and is certainly fashion forward as it changes with time.
“You all look fabulous,” I exclaim to the group gathered around me. They were all in suits with bright white and pastel colored shirts. The young women had on smart leather pumps and the men had on snazzy shoes. I could see it in their eyes, in the way they carried themselves and in their smiles — they really felt great about themselves. Their Mayo wear and their confidence, now all part of the Mayo culture.
Barbara L. Porter – Administrator, Mayo Medical School