The 11th annual White Coat Ceremony was held recently at the Faculty of Medicine, offering a formal welcome for new medical students to the profession of medicine. Each of the 64 students in the Class of 2016 was presented with a short white coat, the symbol of the medical profession and an official start of the students’ educational journey at Memorial University’s medical school.
Dean James Rourke welcomed the audience of students, faculty, staff and friends.
“What a wonderful event. When you applied to medical school we saw a great potential. You are now entering a helping profession, and together you will help each other through the next four years.”
Dr. Rourke had some words of advice for the new medical students.
“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 of student affairs (medicine), gave a short history of the White Coat Ceremony.
“Like the black bag and the stethoscope, the white coat is a symbol of the medical profession. Initially doctors dressed in black but in the late 1900s surgeons began to wear white and the tradition of the white coat arose. The first White Coat Ceremony was held in 1993 in the U.S., and this ceremony now takes place in about 90 per cent of medical schools.”
Dr. Moffatt advised the new medical students that practising medicine is a real privilege “which is not to be taken lightly.”
Dr. Jonathan Greenland spoke on behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association (NLMA) about the privileges and responsibilities associated with the NLMA. He advised students to remember that health care professionals should work as a team, and that teamwork should start during medical school. He encouraged students to become active members of the NLMA.
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.
“With privilege there comes responsibility. Your responsibility is to adhere to the Code of Ethics and you are expected to act in a professional manner.”
The students were presented with their short white coats by Dr. Tanis Adey, preclerkship co-ordinator; and Dr. Don McKay, associate dean for undergraduate medical education.
Dr. Matthew Ryan, a family medicine resident, had some words of wisdom for the Class of 2016.
“Memorial’s medical curriculum will help you excel. Be proud you are a Memorial medical student and trust me, you will be great.”
Stay cool, calm and collected, advised Dr. Ryan.
“You are at the beginning of an epic four-year journey. Welcome and enjoy the ride.”
Following Dr. Ryan’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.