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Dressed To Heal
So you can tell they're not a plumber or princess.

Things every doctor wears on TV (and those who play them). You know:

Nurses will usually have that folded white cap with The Red Cross logo on it and a starched white skirt-and-blouse or minidress uniform.

And specially for Deadly Doctors:
  • Big rubber gloves
  • Lots of syringes.

What easier way to tell the audience what the character does besides these things?

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Shinra Kishitani of Durarara!! insists on wearing his lab coat everywhere, to the point that his girlfriend has to bargain to get him to take it off.
  • The Chansey and Audino that assist all the Nurse Joys in Pokémon have nurse hats with different coloured crosses representing which Pokemon center they work at.
  • Bleach:
    • Ryuuken Ishida is the Director of Karakura General Hospital and a qualified surgeon. Outside work, he's a Badass in a Nice Suit. In work, he never removes the lab coat even when doing paperwork. He's never performed surgery on-screen.
    • Isshin Kurosaki also wears his lab coat constantly during work hours. He's a hands-on GP who has no surgical skill and is only equipped to diagnose and treat minor injuries. He has to send more serious medical cases to Ryuuken's hospital.

    Film 
  • Given a nod in Airplane!! when Dr. Rumack is introduced wearing a stethoscope for no reason, first shown right after he's asked whether he's a doctor.
  • Mr. Bean in Bean sees a doctor drop his stethoscope and tries to give it back to him. As a result of this trope he is mistaken for a senior surgeon and is scrubbed up for a major operation despite not having any identification or uniform and has to perform surgery on a patient. The patient survives. Somehow.
  • Exploited in Patch Adams when Robin Williams uses a white coat given to him by a group of butchers to gain entrance to a teaching hospital as a third year med student.
  • The Carry On series skewered the medical profession more than any other. In all of them, the nurses, sisters, and matrons wore the uniform of their level and the doctors wore white coats. No mirrors though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dr. House usually averts this, not so much his colleagues. In the early seasons a Running Gag is that House refuses to wear scrubs or the standard white lab coat.
  • Averted in Scrubs, where JD only ever wears the usual white coat in one episode and it's a plot point then. Many other doctors do wear it, though. They wear (and use) stethoscopes, however. JD and Turk do wear a large lab coat when playing the World's Most Giant Doctor. The show (correctly) portrays most of the doctors, nurses and surgeons as wearing scrubs.
  • The X-Files, "Kill Switch": The nurses and the doctor who rush Agent Mulder into an operating theatre look a little too much nurse-like and doctor-like in their obsolete white outfits. Especially the nurses' caps. It's the first but very subtle hint that Mulder is trapped in a virtual reality simulator.
  • Monday Mornings: Most doctors wear either blue or dark-green scrubs most of the time, occasionally supplemented with white coats. Clip boards and examination thingies like little flash-lights appear from time to time as well.
  • On M*A*S*H, the doctors (and Margaret) regularly wear lab coats and stethoscopes when on Post-Op duty.
    • Also, Klinger would often wear a nurse's dress during OR and Post-Op scenes.

     Roleplay 
  • A number of medics in Dino Attack RPG are known to wear white labcoats, Pierce and Medic being the two most obvious examples.

    Video Games 
  • Dr. Mario, as pictured.
  • In City of Heroes, Dr Vahzilok wears the head-mirror, though no other surgical garb (which likely would not fit his grotesquely surgically altered form). Interestingly, he is actually wearing it correctly, positioned over his right eye rather than in the center of his forehead.
  • In BioShock, the Dr. Grossman Splicer model is dressed in a dirtied surgical gown and mask with gloves and a large magnifying glass strapped to his head in lieu of the usual head-mirror. Dr. Steinman, who is based on the Grossman Splicer, is dressed similarly, albeit his entire outfit is fully red (possibly not its original color). Ironically, their main purpose in the game is to cause as much harm to you as possible.
  • In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, white coats are not only worn by scientists and doctors, but often actually confer extra medical or scientific skills to non-doctors wearing them. Field medics and wasteland doctors instead wear fatigues and tanktops. With disturbing amounts of blood splatter. You can also find plenty of scrubs in Big MT, though never worn since their original owners are either dead or have become brains in jars.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, one of Jade's alternate costumes has him dressed as a doctor, with a head mirror accompanying the labcoat so that you know he's dressed as a doctor and not a Mad Scientist. (Given that this is Jade we're talking about, they did in fact need to make the distinction clear.)
  • Even when working in a small wooden shed in the jungles of the lower Andes, Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear Solid 4 wears a lab coat. And not much else.
  • Trauma Center, as a series centered around medical professionals, naturally has a lot of recognizable outfits. There are a few variations though: instead of a head mirror, doctors are issued a piece of headgear that would not look out of place in Sam Fisher's wardrobe, and Caduces apparently has their nurses' uniforms made to very specific order, judging by how well-defined their chests are.
  • The Medic of Team Fortress 2 wears a white labcoat and gloves. A patch eventually added a Randomly Drops mirror for his head and a surgical mask for his face.
    • In the beta, he had a stethoscope slung around his neck for absolutely no reason. While he no longer carries it with him, it can still be seen in his cubby in the respawn room, and another Randomly Drops item allows him to put it back around his neck.
  • Chulip: Doctor Dandy has the lab coat, stethoscope, and the head mirror, and at night, rubber gloves and a huge-ass needle.

    Webcomics 
  • The title character of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja always wears a lab coat and stethoscope, in addition to the ninja mask and katana.
  • Doctors in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal wear these. It's probably because there are zero recurring characters, so visual archetypes like this are needed.
  • XKCD parodied this in a strip which featured a character dressed in a labcoat telling a pregnant woman "Until the second trimester, the baby hasn't decided which opening it will exit through," and the caption "Did you know you can just buy lab coats?"
  • Least I Could Do: Rayne's brother, Eric, wears a lab coat, not to show his intent to heal, but to attract women with his profession. Lampshaded hilariously when he removes it and hides it while walking past a car accident with an injured victim.

    Web Original 
  • On Neopets, the Gelert running the Hospital has a correctly-drawn and worn otolaryngologist's mirror—over one eye with an eyehole. Oh, and the rest of this trope fits.
  • Doki's uniform is a traditional nurses outfit.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Since the 1970s, nurses in the US rarely wear the traditional white dress or folded cap anymore, although the uniform is still fairly common in other countries. In practical terms, scrubs are much easier to move around in and keep clean (those white caps? they're actually a reservoir for germs). In cultural terms, there's been a shift towards treating nursing/patient care as a gender-neutral (instead of stereotypically feminized) profession separate from but coequal to medicine and surgery. Nursing uniforms have accordingly been shifting to become more professional and less gendered.
  • Truth in Television: The white coat still is the traditional uniform for doctors in the US, as it has been for the last 100 years. Many medical schools even have a special ceremony for awarding the coat, symbolizing that the students are ready to start seeing patients. This has been changing somewhat in recent years as more patients are seen in informal clinic settings but it's still very much the case in larger hospitals.
    • The white coat is so universal a synonym for "doctor" that there is even a syndrome named after it.
    • Pediatricians are often allowed to wear casual clothes instead, as white coats can upset young children.
    • In the UK, Australia and other countries the white coat has fallen out of vogue for doctors. Scrubs may still be worn depending on the speciality, but the most common dress code is business casual or business suits (usually worn by senior consultants or administrators). Neckties have been banned from hospital wards for hygiene and safety reasons; bowties are apparently in a bit of a grey area, not that any self-respecting physician wants to deal with all the Doctor Who jokes.
  • Particularly in the US, the use of lab coats has become something of a controversy among mental healthcare professionals like therapists, chiefly in clinical settings like psychiatric hospitals. Some therapists want to avoid them even if they're the facility norm to come across as "different" then psychologists or psychiatrists the patients are also seeing all day. Others have found that playing the trope straight gets people more cooperative with treatment.


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