News at Medicine - October 2013 - White Coat Ceremony 2013

White Coat Ceremony 2013
October 15, 2013
The annual White Coat Ceremony took place Oct. 11 in the main auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine for the Class of 2017.
Speakers included Dean James Rourke, Dr. Scott Moffatt, assistant dean of student affairs, Dr. Nigel Duguid, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Dr. Kelly Monaghan, family medicine resident. The ceremony concluded with a recitation of the Declaration of Geneva, led by professor emeritus Dr. William Pryse-Phillips.

Second-year medical students David Jerome and Alysha Mehta emceed the event, dressed in their own white coats. Mr. Jerome noted this is the first time the second-year students have worn white coats at the ceremony. “We chose to wear them as a visual representation of the community in the medical school,” he explained.

Dean Rourke welcomed the audience of students, faculty, staff and friends. “The white coat is symbolic of you joining us. 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. Scott Moffatt, assistant dean for admissions, gave a talk on the history and significance of the white coat. He noted the originally doctors dressed in black attire, but in the late 19th century the tradition of the white coast arise stemming from the white clothing worn by surgeons. In 1993 the Arnold P. Gold Foundation founded the White Coat Ceremony at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Moffatt also talked about the symbolism of the Graces monument in front of the Health Sciences Centre, with the three Graces representing the rose, the heart, and the road of Asclepius, signifying health and healing and the bond between the patient and care provider.
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. Don McKay, associate dean for undergraduate medical education, and Dr. Moffatt presented the 81 students in the Class of 2017 with their short white coats.
Dr. Kelly Monaghan, a family medicine resident, had some words of wisdom for the Class of 2017. “Four years ago I had my misgivings about the white coat as an image of power. But my white coat became the embodiment of my status as a learner, and I wore the longer white coat of clerkship as a sign of respect for patients. My white coat was a passport to my most significant encounters with patients.”
Dr. Monaghan said that if there is one thing she has learned in medical school is that there are no grand truths. 
Following Dr. Monaghan’s speech, Dr. William Pryse-Phillips concluded the formal part of the ceremony by leading the first-year students in a reading of the Declaration of Geneva. The ceremony ended with the Dean’s Reception for families, friends and students.
Chelsea Ash (front) and Lisa Bacque were among the 81 first-year students who received their short white coats at a ceremony Oct. 11. Dr. Don McKay, associate dean for undergraduate medical education, presented Ms. Bacque with her short white coat; Dr. Scott Moffatt, assistant dean for student affairs, presented Ms. Ash with their white coats.

The Class of 2017 recited the Declaration of Geneva at the conclusion of the White Coat Ceremony.