dvm360 presents ‘The Dilemma Live’: Turmoil over tailored scrubs

February 4, 2020

Dr. Marc Rosenberg's 'The Dilemma' column in dvm360 has come to life!

For years Marc Rosenberg, VMD, has challenged veterinarians and practice managers to think about how they would handle sticky situations that arise in practice. Now, his column has come to life. Watch this inaugural episode, as Dr. Rosenberg and veterinary technician Bash Halow share how they would address a technician who chose to alter her scrubs to make them more form-fitting.

Dr. Rosenberg: Hi and welcome to dvm360 TV. I'm Dr. Marc Rosenberg, and this is “The Dilemma Live.”

Veterinarians and practice teams encounter workplace dilemmas every day and sometimes they just don't know how to handle them. Let me see if I can help you out.

Joining us on this episode of "The Dilemma Live" is Bash Halow, a licensed veterinary technician, certified practice manager and business management consultant from New York, who will share his thoughts on how he would address a dilemma you might face in your practice. I call this scenario, “The Provocateur.” Bash, hello and good to see you.

Mr. Halow: Nice to see you.

Dr. Rosenberg: Let me tell you about Dr. Tower. He found a great technician with a wonderful reputation and had her in for an interview. He was very impressed and said, "I want you to work for me." He gave her a set of three scrubs that all staff members get, and he said to come back on Monday wearing your scrubs—it has our logo—and we'll get started.

She comes back on Monday, but she tailored her scrubs over the weekend, and they were quite form-fitting, and some of the people in the practice said, "This is a distraction, doctor."

He called her in and said, "You know, we've had some complaints." She said, "Listen, if I worked at the bank in the real estate office, you would not have an issue. I really think that this is your problem. You’re body shaming me. If I was a very large woman and these fit a little more tightly, you wouldn't say a thing. So I really think that this is your problem and not mine." And Dr. Tower said, "I really would like you to look like everybody else and have scrubs that fit like pajamas."

She said, "We have to agree to disagree." Dr. Tower had to make a decision. What do you think, Bash?

Mr. Halow: I'm so glad that he's going to take some time to think about this, because let's think about this for a minute! There’s so many things to think about in this. Think about the banality of this thing that we’re going to be worrying about right now. Of all of the things that we can worry about in our practice ... we could be improving workflow, we could be trying to figure out how to pay our teams more money, we could figure out better benefits for our team. We could think of better workflow and how to serve our patients. We’re not going to think about any of that. We’re worried about this woman’s scrubs fitting too tightly. And why are we defending what scrubs look like? I mean think about it. I think he admitted himself that they sort of fit like pajamas.

They often look like they were slept in, which they typically are. They’re frayed at the bottom. They’re colored these colors to typically hide the fact that they’re dirty, which they are dirty all the time. I don’t understand why in a world where every veterinary practice claims to be the best practice in the whole world, all of us are sourcing our uniform out of the same website, veterinaryapparel.com. So what’s to defend here?

This woman is trying to improve the way that she appears to her clients. She’s trying to appear certainly more attractive and probably more professional and I applaud her for that. This sounds to me like a mean girl scenario number one. I resent the fact that the rest of the team members can’t focus on their own work and trying to up their own game rather than shaming this poor girl for trying to look her best at work.

Dr. Rosenberg: So, once again, I must agree with you.

Mr. Halow: Oh, good.

Dr. Rosenberg: Dr. Tower was really participating in body shaming and I think this was a lesson that allowed him to learn something.

Mr. Halow: Well hopefully he learned something. I hope he’ll make the right decision. I can’t believe he walked away to think about it some more.

Dr. Rosenberg: Well, that’s the veterinary world that we live in. I certainly hope this has helped everybody. Now we’d like to hear for you. How would you address this scenario?Would you allow the woman to continue to wear her form-fitting scrubs?

Email your thoughts about this situation to dvm360news@mmhgroup.com. And, of course, for more veterinary dilemmas, visit dvm360.com/Rosenberg. Thanks for tuning in!