What to Wear When Shadowing a Doctor: A Visual Guide that Literally Makes the Difference

Undergraduate student confused about what to wear when shadowing a doctor

As a student, it can be challenging to know what to wear when shadowing a doctor. You want to dress professionally, but you also want to be comfortable enough to move around and observe procedures. In this guide, we'll discuss what to wear when shadowing a doctor, so you can make the most out of your experience.

Dressing Professionally for Shadowing a Doctor

Show Respect for the Healthcare Profession

Shadowing a doctor or a nurse is an excellent opportunity to learn about the medical profession and gain insight into what it takes to become a healthcare provider. It’s important to dress appropriately and professionally to show respect for the provider and the profession. Dressing appropriately also shows that you know what to wear for shadowing a doctor, take the opportunity seriously and are committed to learning.

When shadowing a doctor, it’s essential to make a good first impression. Dressing professionally can help you do that. You want to look polished and put-together to show the doctor that you’re serious about the opportunity.


A hospital dress code can be a relief – no need to worry about what to wear when shadowing a doctor when you have guidelines to follow

Follow Hospital Dress Code

Many hospitals have dress codes that employees and visitors must follow.


Before you shadow a doctor, it’s important to be aware of the dress code that hospitals require their employees and visitors to follow.


This information will be provided as part of the orientation meeting, and if you’re unsure about anything, you can always ask our city manager for clarification.


Following the dress code is crucial to maintain a professional appearance while you’re in the hospital. Here are some common guidelines to keep in mind.

Outfit Ideas for Shadowing a Doctor

Wear no-iron clothing

Wearing clean, ironed clothing is not only a sign of professionalism but also a way to feel confident and put-together. However, it can be time-consuming and tedious to iron clothing regularly, especially when you have a busy schedule. Fortunately, there are now many innovative fabrics available that are designed to resist wrinkling and require minimal ironing. For example, trousers made with wrinkle-resistant fabrics such as wool, polyester, or spandex blends can help you achieve a polished look without the hassle of ironing. Some brands even offer pants specifically marketed as “no-iron” or “easy-care,” making it easier than ever to maintain a professional appearance. By investing in high-quality, wrinkle-resistant clothing, you can save time and look great with minimal effort.

Avoid clothing with holes, stains, or offensive language

It’s no secret that clothing with holes, stains, or offensive language has become increasingly popular among young people in recent years. However, when it comes to shadowing a doctor or working in any professional environment, it’s important to steer clear of these items.


What to wear when shadowing a doctor or working in a professional setting is an important consideration.


You may be young and enjoy expressing yourself through your clothing choices, but when you’re in a professional setting, it’s important to dress appropriately and show respect for the environment in which you are working.


Clothing with holes or stains can give off the impression of sloppiness or lack of attention to detail, which is not the impression you want to make in a professional environment. Offensive language or graphics on clothing can be seen as disrespectful or unprofessional, which can be detrimental to your image.


While it’s important to express yourself through your clothing, it’s equally important to dress appropriately for the situation at hand. By avoiding clothing with holes, stains, or offensive language, you can show respect for the professional environment and make a positive impression

Choose conservative clothing

If you’re unsure about what to wear when shadowing a doctor, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and choose conservative clothing.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to choose conservative clothing that covers your body appropriately.

This means avoiding clothing that is too revealing or provocative, as well as clothing with holes, stains, or offensive language.

It’s also important to choose comfortable shoes that are appropriate for standing and walking, and to avoid tight or revealing clothing. 

An example of non-conservative clothing while shadowing a doctor

Keep in mind that even if you are wearing a white coat, you may still be revealing part of your body and your clothing.

To ensure that you are dressed appropriately, it’s best to choose clothing that fits well and covers your body appropriately.

By dressing appropriately, you can make a positive impression and show respect for the professional environment in which you are working.

Comfortable shoes are a must

When shadowing a doctor, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely be on your feet for a significant portion of the day.


For this reason, it’s essential to choose shoes that are both comfortable and supportive.


Closed-toe shoes are typically the best option, as they provide protection and support for your feet. Low-heeled shoes or flats can also be a good choice, as they offer stability and comfort for standing and walking.


It’s best to avoid wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight or uncomfortable, as these can cause discomfort or even injury over time.


By choosing the right shoes for the job, you can ensure that you stay comfortable and focused throughout the day, allowing you to make the most of your shadowing experience.

what to wear when shadowing a doctor - shoes

Wear a Scrub

Wearing a scrub can help you blend in and look the part but if you can wear a scrub or not while shadowing doctors depends on the hospital’s dress code.


Some hospitals allow visitors to wear scrubs, while others do not.


During the orientation meeting for the DoctorsinItaly Fellowship, you will receive clear instructions on what is expected of you. If your hospital permits the wearing of scrubs, they will be provided to you.

Four shadowing students wearing scrubs right after shadowing a surgery

Avoid Wearing Strong Perfumes or Colognes

When shadowing a doctor, it’s important to avoid wearing anything that’s too strong or overpowering. This includes perfumes, colognes, or body sprays. Strong scents can be distracting and make it difficult for the doctor to focus on their work.

Opt for Clean, Natural Nails Instead of Polish

Although it may be tempting to paint your nails in fun colors or patterns, it’s important to keep in mind that nail polish is typically not allowed in healthcare settings for hygienic reasons. 


Nail polish can harbor bacteria and germs, making it difficult to maintain a clean and sanitary environment. 


In fact, many hospitals and healthcare facilities have strict guidelines regarding nail care and may prohibit the use of nail polish altogether. Additionally, having long nails or artificial nails can also pose a risk, as they can trap bacteria and make hand hygiene more difficult.


To ensure a safe and hygienic environment for both patients and healthcare workers, it’s best to follow the guidelines set forth by your hospital regarding nail care and grooming.


This may include keeping nails short and clean, avoiding nail polish or artificial nails, and following proper hand hygiene protocols.

A student wearing professional attire and a white lab coat going down the stairs of the hospital confidently while reading a medical report.

Keep you hair tied up

Long hair can be a beautiful and versatile feature, allowing for a range of hairstyles and creative expression. Whether styled in loose waves or a sleek updo, long hair can make a statement and add personality to your overall look.


However, in certain settings, such as healthcare environments, it’s important to keep hair tied up and out of the way to maintain a clean and hygienic environment. In healthcare settings, it’s important to maintain a clean and hygienic environment.


For individuals with long hair, this means keeping their hair tied up and out of their face.


Loose hair can not only be distracting, but it can also pose a risk by potentially coming into contact with patients or equipment.


Hair ties, headbands, or other hair accessories can help keep hair securely in place and out of the way.


It’s also important to make sure hair is washed regularly to prevent the buildup of oils and bacteria.


By keeping long hair tied up and maintained, healthcare workers can help ensure a safe and hygienic environment for both themselves and their patients.

What Should Doctor Wear? A Fashion Showdown in the Hospital Wardrobe!

Now you know what to wear when shadowing, but what should the doctors wear?

Putting aside the importance of fashion, the clothes a doctor wears to work can indicate to others their training, colleagues, and possibly even their level of skill as a medical professional.


Did you know that different people in different countries like their doctors to wear different things?


A study was done in Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and the USA to find out what patients liked doctors to wear.

The study found that patients in all countries like doctors to wear white coats, but they didn’t like it when doctors wore casual or business clothes.


When doctors work in the emergency room or do surgery, patients like it when they wear scrubs. But when they work in a regular doctor’s office or hospital, patients like them to wear more formal clothes.


People in different countries like different types of clothes.


In the USA, people like doctors to wear more formal clothes because it looks professional.


In Japan, younger people like it when doctors wear more casual clothes.


In Italy, people like it when doctors wear traditional clothes, like a suit or a white coat. 


In Switzerland, people like different types of clothes.


Doctors should wear clothes that match the place they work in. If they work in an emergency room or do surgery, they should wear scrubs.


If they work in a regular doctor’s office or hospital, they should wear formal clothes. This is important because patients like it when their doctors dress a certain way.


So, next time you go to the doctor’s office, take a look at what the doctor is wearing. Maybe they’re wearing a white coat or maybe they’re wearing something else. And remember, if you want to watch the doctor, make sure you dress nicely too!

Related Topics