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School of Medicine

VCU School of Medicine

Welcome to VCU School of Medicine

Standards and Policies

Welcome to Standards and Policies

Review the Professional Attire standards, then take the challenge and play DRESS-A-DOC to see what you've learned.

Recommendations for Professional Attire (All Students)

It is important that everyone who works at VCUHS present a professional appearance to patients and families. The purpose of the dress code is not to inhibit personal freedoms, but rather to acknowledge the unique role that physicians and medical students have in patient care. Each clinical department or division has the right to establish dress codes specific for their area and patient population, but here are some general guidelines.

Uniforms or business attire, representative of your professional career, are expected and should be clean, neat and of appropriate size. Appropriate dress for male medical students is shirts, ties, and pants. Female medical students should wear dresses or skirts of knee length or longer or dress pants and blouses. Exposure of the abdomen or chest due to low cut blouses or pants, is not appropriate.

Please follow these other specific requirements as well:

  • Scrubs should only be worn in designated areas.
  • Jewelry should be worn at a minimum or not at all. Perfume/cologne/scented lotions should not be worn.
  • Earrings should be worn in a professional manner and are limited to one to two per ear.
  • With the exception of ear piercing, there will be no visible body piercing, including but not limited to tongue piercing, nose piercing, and eyebrow rings/bars.
  • Hair should be clean, well groomed, and worn in such a manner that it will not interfere with patient care or job duties and will present a professional image.
  • Facial hair must be trimmed and kept clean.
  • Hats are not allowed.
  • Women may wear make-up in moderation.
  • Fingernails should kept short, clean, neatly manicured and not extend one-quarter inch past the fingertips. Artificial nails and nail jewelry are prohibited per Health Department regulations in any patient care role. Artificial nails are defined as any application of a product to the nail to include, but not limited to, acrylic, overlay, tips or silk wraps (does not refer to nail polish). Nail polish is not permitted.
  • There will be no visible tattoos; any visible tattoo must be covered with a bandage or clothing.
  • Shoes should be close toed and non-skid shoes of low or moderate heel are recommended.

Wearing your VCUCard is required as well. All persons who provide care or services to VCUHS must display proper identification that includes their name, job title, and the department to which they are assigned. The VCUCARD MUST be worn at all times, face forward and above the waist, so you can be easily identified. Failure to wear your ID could result in your being denied access to your clinical assignment area. Always wear your white coat and name tag, unless in the prison unit or directed otherwise by the unit.

Multiple studies have shown that the physical appearance of a physician impacts on the comfort level of the patient. The more comfortable patient is more likely to provide complete and accurate information. A survey of several hundred patients in 2002 showed results similar to those performed 20 years earlier. Characteristics deemed undesirable by patients included sandals, clogs, blue jeans and tennis shoes, regardless of the gender of the health care provider. Long hair, cologne, surgical scrubs and non-traditional hairstyles in male health care providers were also undesirable. Characteristics that were found desirable for both male and female health care providers included the wearing of a name badge, white coat, dress shoes and a traditional hairstyle. For men, dress pants and for women, a skirt or dress was considered most desirable.

Your first goal should be to provide the best health care for your patient. Effective communication is an important part of that process. Your appearance counts!