Sixty future physicians joined the student body of Trinity School of Medicine in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, after receiving their White Coats at the ceremony held at the institution on Saturday, September 6, 2014.
The White Coats, according to Dr. Paula Wilson, Associate Dean of Admissions, were “personally placed on each student’s shoulders by faculty”, and are said to represent the institution’s faith, hope and confidence in the students’ ability to succeed.
The event attendees heard from His Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne, MD, Governor General of the island nation. He extended a warm welcome to all students, their parents and friends.
Dr. Ballantyne gave a brief outline of the way of life of Vincentians, providing an understanding of the new country where the students will spend the next two years of their lives. A medical doctor himself, the Governor General encouraged the students by saying,
'The journey is long and arduous but at the end of it, it is very fulfilling. You will be equipped with the tools to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for the better, and also for the betterment of the planet.'
Coming on the heels of these words of inspiration, was a video presentation by graduates of Trinity, giving the future doctors present, germane advice on good strategies for how to spend their medical schools years. To introduce the presentation, President of Trinity, Mr. Steve Wilson, informed all present that he had been at Trinity from the school's inception and had questioned many students who have done well, about what each did to succeed. The video, he said, would give answers to that question.
Then, in Words of Wisdom from Trinity Graduates, the recent graduates and new doctors enthusiastically went through their experience on the island and at the institution. They encouraged the new students that, while they should maximize their enjoyment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, they should endeavor to put their studies first and remain focused.
They spoke of dealing with everyday class activities, beneficial study habits, ease of working with lecturers, methodologies for coping, and exam tips and tips for enhancing the pursuit of their residency in the United States and Canada.
“It’s a humbling experience,” one student reminisced, “it shapes you into a good person and a good doctor. Just learn to face your tasks and go forward.”
The origin and significance of the White Coat was shared by Dr. Paula Wilson, Assistant Professor of Public Health and Health Informatics and Associate Dean of Admissions. She chronicled its conception from Dr. Arnold Gold’s illuminating idea, to the prestige it now affords medical students in their shorter coats and doctors in their longer coats.
In a jovial manner, Dr. Wilson explained that, “What distinguished the long white coats from the short white coat is that the long coats are starched and white and beautiful, but the short coats worn by the students are not. The pockets are filled with books, pens, 5-hour energy drinks and so on.” She then reiterated that the administration and faculty of Trinity hold every faith, hope and confidence in its student’s movement from short white coat to long white coat, every time it is placed on their shoulders.
Associate Dean of Students, Dr. Frances Jack, joined her voice in welcome and commendations of the future doctors. She reminded them that the white coats signified their “willingness to take responsibility of being a student doctor”. She cautioned that at times there will be challenges, “to the point where you will believe the task is insurmountable”, but she finished by saying that, this will teach them to “work with diligence and perseverance and to serve humanity.”
At that point the students rose and walked forward to be robed by Douglas Skelton, MD, Dean and Chancellor of the School; Andreas Reymann, MD Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Evaluation; Joe Wilson, MD Associate Dean of Clinical Clerkships; and Frances Jack, MD. Each was welcomed into the profession by His Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne.
In closing, Dean Skelton, thanked all for attending, especially the parents who had journeyed from overseas to witness the momentous occasion with their children. All were then invited to a reception hosted by the school at Young Island Resort, situated on the southern coastline of St. Vincent.