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Establishing a positive patient care environment is one of the most basic concepts of health care professional practice. Dress and personal address are aspects of this environment that are influenced by culture and express mutual respect within the patient-provider relationship. The Patient Sensitivity Questionnaire was administered to determine how 76 Israeli inpatients perceived forms of address and dress in their health care environment. Patients preferred that their health care providers wear formal dress and be addressed by their formal titles. Respondents did not object to being addressed by their first names. Based on these results, it would seem that this Israeli sample preferred to retain the traditional provider-patient environment.
One of the most basic concepts of health care professional practice is creating a positive patient care environment. Patient-provider interactions, both verbal and nonverbal, can lead to a trusting milieu and enhanced quality patient care. A delicate balance exists between establishing a caring, close relationship and creating clear provider-patient boundaries. Aranda and Street 1 assert that delivery of health care is dominated by the idea of fixed boundaries between the professional and the client. Violation of that boundary can be seen as a transgression of the relationship. However, it is also necessary to create a sense of comfort and belonging. 2
Dress and address reflect this delicate balance. Dress is the attire that health professionals wear while providing care. Forms of address are the names or titles used by health care providers and/or patients when addressing one another. Therefore, patient perceptions of forms of dress and address have implications for health care providers.
The purpose of this preliminary study was to determine how Israeli inpatients perceived forms of address and dress of their health care providers. More specifically, the following research questions were asked:
* What are patients' attitudes toward health care providers' form of dress?
* What are patients' attitudes toward health care providers' form of address?
* Is there a relationship between demographic characteristics and attitudes toward health care providers' form of dress?
* Is there a relationship between demographic characteristics and attitudes toward health care providers' form of address?
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