University of Vermont

Larner College of Medicine

Medical Student Education

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Policy 640.10


Guidelines for Appearance in a Health Care Setting


Policy Statement

  1. Students are to be clean and well-groomed at all times. Effort should be taken to avoid bad breath or body odors.
  2. Clothes are to be clean and in good condition (not frayed, ripped, or with holes).
  3. Discretion should be used in the selection of clothing to ensure that safety and professional appearance are not compromised when standing, sitting, bending or stretching.
    1. Clothing must cover torso (chest, back and abdomen).
    2. Shirts and dresses must have wide shoulder straps (no spaghetti straps). Bras straps should not be visible from front or back.
    3. Blue Denim is not allowed.
    4. Clothing should not be tight fitting and should be appropriate to perform work and in a length not shorter than 4" above the knee.
    5. Hosiery to cover exposed feet and legs should be worn at all times in patient care areas. Ornamental hosiery is not appropriate (i.e. lace, rhinestones, bows, etc.).
    6. Shorts, skorts, tank tops, T-shirts, tube tops, sweatshirts/pants, running suits, and shirts with commercial slogans or pictures are not acceptable attire. (Unobtrusive small logos such as those found on dresses and shirts, and other logos of this nature are acceptable).
  4. Soft-soled shoes are preferred, open-toed shoes and sandals are not permitted.
  5. Name badges (preferably with picture ID) are part of each student's required attire and should be visible and worn above the waist. Name badges are not to be compromised in a manner that prevents clear display of name or picture ID.
  6. Hair:
    1. Should be clean and neat with styles that are appropriate to business attire.
    2. Be of a color which occurs naturally in humans. For example, hair colors such as pink, purple, blue, green are not allowed.
    3. Hair that can fall into face when bending over should be pulled back and secured when providing direct patient care.
    4. Moustaches and beards must be neat and trimmed and not interfere with personal protective equipment (PPE) when in the patient setting.
  7. Fingernails:
    1. Should be clean.
    2. Conservative in length (because of infection risk and risk to comfort of patients) short, natural fingernails.
    3. Neatly manicured. No artificial nails/gels, nail jewelry, sparking ornaments or chipped nail polish are allowed.
  8. Jewelry:
    1. Should be simple and appropriate to business attire.
    2. Must meet safety standards. Avoid long necklaces and dangling earrings that are easy for children or others to grasp.
    3. Because performing adequate hand hygiene is difficult if jewelry is worn, a limited number of rings should be worn when providing patient care.
    4. Visible body piercing is not permitted except for in the ears and this is limited to 2 earrings per ear.
  9. Colognes and perfumes should not be used in patient care areas.
  10. Tattoos must be covered.
  11. Other guidelines:
    1. Sunglasses are to be worn indoors only if prescribed by a physician or required for the job.
    2. Hats may be worn only as part of a uniform, or for safety or religious purposes.
    3. Eating, drinking or chewing gum is prohibited during real or standardized patient contact.
  12. Students in violation of these guidelines may be instructed to change and make up time missed at the discretion of the course or clerkship director.

Applicability of the Policy

  • All Students

Reviewed and Approved

  • Adapted from The University of Vermont Medical Center Policy F-05, on July 16, 2013

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Last modified February 06 2017 11:14 AM