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Welcoming students to profession of pharmacy

By David Penney | Jan. 18, 2013

A formal recognition of the commitment to embark on a career as a pharmacist, the White Coat Ceremony is held annually to induct the newest class of students into the profession. The 40 members of the Class of 2016 at Memorial University’s School of Pharmacy participated in this year’s ceremony recently at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s.

The Class of 2016 was joined by dignitaries, members of the pharmacy community, students from all classes at the school, faculty and staff, family and friends.

Members of the pharmacy community facilitate the donning of the white coats. This year a number of individuals participated who now represent families of second and third generations in the profession with children and grandchildren who are members of the Class of 2016. Megan Gulliver was proud to receive her white coat from her father Ray Gulliver and her grandfather, Randy Collins, both longstanding members of the pharmacy community.

"I always had a desire to be involved in a career that provided caring for others," she said. "I guess being exposed to the profession may have played a role, but my family never pushed me in this direction. They gave me the space to choose my own path, which turned out to be pharmacy. I chose this career because I believe it will provide me with the ability to develop strong one-on-one relationships with people to help them with their medications, which in turn will aid in their health and well-being."

Included as part of the induction ceremony is the recitation of the Pledge of Professionalism. The public declaration of that pledge signifies a shift from student to practitioner and is a statement of responsibility that emphasizes a lifelong commitment to the service of patients who fall under their care. A poster-sized version of the pledge is later signed by all members of the class and posted in the school’s professional practice lab for the duration of their program.

Dr. Linda Hensman, dean of Memorial’s School of Pharmacy, oversaw the initiation of the White Coat Ceremony at the school in 2007. This year’s event was particularly special for her because it is the last one she will preside over after a 12-year career as dean.

"The ceremony is very meaningful for our students and for the entire pharmacy community,” she said. “It’s about becoming a professional, understanding and embracing the responsibility that comes with caring for patients and representing this profession. Instilling that in our students has been the highest priority for me during my tenure as dean and a significant part of that process has been the White Coat Ceremony."

 


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