Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




The concept of “do no harm” is not a figure of speech. It is a pledge to our patients to insert ourselves between them and anything that can harm them physically or emotionally. “Do lab coats harbor microbes that are detrimental to our clients’ health?” was the question that drove this systematic review. Using a search to cover articles regarding the microbial integrity of the coat, several studies were found to include culture and sensitivity reports along with participants’ surveys that increase the data to include demographics, handling habits of the coat along with laundering habits of the owners of the coats. Eight studies were reviewed, seven of the eight did provide survey information, to extract data and conclusions for the summarization of the integrity of the coat. The microbial compromise of the garment was confirmed, and solutions were uncovered as the eight studies were examined. All studies referred to the garment as a source or a potential source of cross contamination. Using education guided by a multidisciplinary team, nurse practitioners can lead an effective approach to aid in the safe handling of the white coat. Standards for the handling of the coat along with monitoring of the compliance of healthcare workers can lead to a safer environment and better patient outcomes.