14 Feb 2013


Recently, my friend TW was admitted to the hospital for chest infection. For a fit young man, that was quite an experience. It was so overwhelming that he reflected on his life and made the bold decision to buy an apartment to please his wife.

Lying in bed and overcome by myalgia, he also made some interesting observations. He noticed that some nurses were in traditional uniforms. They wore dresses and caps. The attire originated from that of nuns, who used to be the ones taking care of the sick in the past. In fact, we still call senior nurses ‘sisters’. Nowadays, some other nurses dress in tunics and trousers. TW remarked that the nurses in traditional uniforms were more caring and professional. He asked me for an explanation.

I answered that there were several possible explanations. First, the ones in trousers might not be nurses. There are different types of healthcare workers in the hospital. Second, the observation could be biased due to sampling variability and/or prejudice of the observer.

“Suppose your observation is correct,” I continued, “there is one more possibility. The nurses who continued to dress in traditional uniforms might be more proud of their job. This may have affected how they treat their patients.”

Outfit is of course trivial. The important thing is whether we are proud of what we are doing. Another day to declare myself a proud husband and father.

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