News at Medicine - November 2011 - White Coat Ceremony offers formal welcome to new medical students

White Coat Ceremony offers formal welcome to new medical students
November 2, 2011
The 10th annual White Coat Ceremony took place Oct. 28 in the main auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine. This ceremony has become a formal tradition of receiving new undergraduate students into the medical profession by presenting them with short white coats.

Dean James Rourke welcomed the audience of students, faculty, staff and friends. “This is a tremendous opportunity to get together to celebrate with families and friends,” he said to the class of 2015. “Each of you wants to become the best doctor you can be and we are committed to making sure that happens. My Golden Rule for Physicians is to aspire to care for your patients as you would want to be cared for if you were in their situation; work hard to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will make that happen.”

Dr. Tanis Adey, associate dean of admissions, gave a talk on the history and significance of the white coat. She noted that for over 100 years the white coat has been a symbol of the medical profession. “Initially doctors wore black dress, and from the white surgical garb of the late 19th century the tradition of the white coat arose. The white coat symbolized a more scientific approach to medicine, and today it symbolizes both the science and humanism in medicine.”

Dr. Adey said that as physicians, “We have the privilege of interacting with patients when they are at their most vulnerable. We must treat them with humanisms – it can be difficult at times to live up to the standard of the white coat.”

Dr. Sandra Luscombe, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA), advised the Class of 2015 that entering the profession of medicine is life-changing. “Professionalism is the cornerstone, and your sense of professionalism starts today. Remember we really need to work as a team. From this day forward we will consider you as physicians in training.”

Speaking on behalf of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador, Dr. Nigel Duguid explained to students that their names have now been entered into the province’s medical register, permitting them to enter the supervised practice of medicine. “Your responsibility is to adhere to the Code of Ethics. You are expected to act in a professional manner.”

Dr. Wanda Parsons, assistant dean for admissions, and Dr. Adey presented the 64 students in the Class of 2015 with their short white coats.

Dr. Amy Pieroway, a family medicine resident, had some words of wisdom for the Class of 2015. “Make sure you go into each rotation with an open mind. Try and absorb all the information, and eventually you will learn. Don’t be discouraged by one poor test result. Love and support each other, your classmates will be your biggest support. Be kind to each other, share with each other. Don’t forget your family and friends and take care of yourself.”

Following Dr. Pieroway’s speech, Dr. William Pryse-Phillips concluded the formal part of the ceremony by leading the first-year students in a reading of the Oath of Geneva. The ceremony ended with the Dean’s Reception for families, friends and students.

Sara Dalley received her short white coat from Dr. Tanis Adey

Maggie Hadley, left, and Stefan Hamilton, right, received their short white coats from Drs. Wanda Parsons and Tanis Adey.

The Class of 2015 recited the Oath of Geneva at the end of the White Coat Ceremony, led by professor emeritus Dr. William Pryse-Phillips.