News at Medicine - November 2009 - Class of 2013 formally inducted

Class of 2013 formally inducted
November 4, 2009
The Class of 2013 is well into their first semester, but they won’t soon forget an event on Sept. 19 known as the White Coat Ceremony. Family and friends gathered in the Main Auditorium to see 64 new medical students formally received into the medical profession.

This is the eighth year Memorial’s medical school has held this ceremony, which includes presenting the first-year students with short white coats to symbolize their entry to the profession of medicine.

The Class of 2013 is close to the maximum number of medical students that can be accommodated until a new building opens. The building is scheduled for opening in 2012, in time to admit 80 medical students per year starting with the Class of 2016.

Dean James Rourke congratulated the new class, reminding them that they are at an important milestone in their careers. He advised them to follow the golden rule, “Strive to care for others like you would like to be cared for.”

Dr. June Harris, assistant dean of Student Affairs (Medicine), gave an illustrated historical perspective of the medical profession. She noted that prior to 1900 the colour associated with medicine was black, not white, because of medicine’s association with death. “The transition from black to white symbolizes cleanliness, purity and goodness. Today’s virtues include altruism, accountability, compassion, duty, excellence, honour and humility.”

Dr. Gerard Farrell, associate dean of Undergraduate Medical Studies, gave an informal and entertaining talk directed specifically at the new class of medical students. “This ceremony is about what the white coat symbolizes – becoming a medical professional. During the next four years you will learn as much, if not more, from allied health professionals as from lectures. Most of what you learn will be from your patients. Never forget that you are in a confidential environment – people give you their trust and as doctors we will keep that trust.”

Dr. Elizabeth Callahan, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, advised the new medical students that entering the profession of medicine is life-changing. “Professionalism is our cornerstone and it starts today. As medical students you are expected to be respectful. Health care professionals have to work as a team. You must put the goal of learning above competition. From this day forward, consider yourself doctors in training and wear it proudly.”

Dr. Cathy Vardy, assistant registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador, spoke on the privileges and responsibilities associated with the college.  She noted that all physicians, including the audience of first-year medical students, are members of the college.

The presentation of short white coats was made by Dr. Darrell Boone, clerkship co-ordinator, and Dr. Wanda Parsons, assistant dean for Admissions.

Following the presentation of white coats, Dr. Chris Holden, a resident in family medicine and valedictorian for the Class of 2009, had some words of advice. Speaking from his own experience, he described his early days as a medical student as being filled with self-doubt.

“The workload can be overwhelming,” he said. “What you should know is that every single person in your class has self doubts. This is normal; it’s just a way to keep yourself honest.”

Dr. Holden said the most important thing to do as a medical student is to find a balance between studies and life. “Live hard, work hard and play hard.”

At the end of the White Coat Ceremony, the 64 new medical students recited the Oath of Geneva, led by Dr. William Pryse-Phillips.

Parents, friends and the Class of 2013 gathered after the ceremony in the foyer for a welcoming reception hosted by Dean James Rourke.

First-year student Ross Campbell of Fredericton Was one of 62 new medical students welcomes into the Faculty of Medicine Sept. 19 with the donning of a short white coat, placed on him by Dr. Darrell Boone, clerkship co-ordinator.

Amena Ghuman of St. John’s received her short white coat from Dr. Boone.

Members of the Class of 2013 recited the Oath of Geneva at the White Coat Ceremony, led by Dr. William Pryse-Phillips.