Are you sure you’re a doctor? |

Are you sure you’re a doctor?

Janet Urquhart

Work is under way on a new dress code for staffers at Aspen Valley Hospital, but nurses won’t have to wear white dresses, white stockings and those little caps ” unless they want to.

And physicians won’t have to wear a neck tie, but they will have to dress in a manner befitting a medical professional. In other words, not in ski pants.

The hospital’s strategic plan calls for new customer service standards, including a new dress code, according to John Sarpa, president of the AVH board.

The informality and casual dress at AVH has generated patient complaints, he said.

“I would tell you, when you walk through the front door of a hospital … you want to know who the doc is real quick,” Sarpa said. “When you walk into Valley View [in Glenwood Springs], very rarely will you see a doctor dressed in his bike clothes treating somebody.”

AVH already has a dress code, but some staffers have taken liberties with it, according to Ginny Dyche, director of community relations. She has been assigned the task of rewriting the code.

“I keep telling the employees, we don’t want to lose the casual feel at the hospital,” Dyche said.

However, some patients feel the casualness has gone too far, she said.

People receiving treatment want to feel that a physician’s focus is on them, not on the bike ride they just took or the one they’re about to take, Sarpa added.

“There’s a correlation between how you dress and how you conduct yourself,” he said.

A couple of City Council members, hearing a presentation on the hospital’s strategic plan, expressed reservations about the move.

“That doesn’t set very well with me,” said Councilman Terry Paulson.

Dyche said she is working with hospital department managers in drafting the new dress code, since they’ll be the ones enforcing it.

“The vast majority of managers are in favor of some changes,” she said.

Many AVH staffers dress in surgical scrubs, and they will be able to continue to do so, she said.

Most casual observers who walk into the hospital won’t notice any difference when the new code is in place, Dyche predicted.