Last week, Trinity School of Medicine held the white coat ceremony for its May 2018 students at the school's campus in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
The white coat ceremony, a tradition started at the University of Chicago 30 years ago that has since spread across the United States and Canada, is an induction into medical professional schools. As it effectively celebrates admission into medical school and it book-ends the experience with a student's eventual graduation, the white coat ceremony is an exciting day for all involved. Guests to the day's event included Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Governor General of St. Vincent; Hon. Luke Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment; members of the Trinity board of directors, faculty, and staff, as well as families and friends of the incoming class. Read on to see photos, hear about speakers, and learn what you can expect at your own white coat ceremony.
At the outset, the new students were welcomed Trinity dean Dr. Linda Adkison and Mr. Keith Hollers (pictured right), director of student services. As is tradition, the students were shown a video message from the most recent graduating class about how they felt on their first day, what their time at Trinity was like, and where they were headed next. One graduating student wrapped up the presentation with, “This medical education journey has allowed me to increase my patience and perseverance and shown me what I'm really capable of. If I had to do it again, I would definitely choose Trinity!”
Dr. Bernadette Scott (pictured left), a professor of clinical medicine at Trinity, was the ceremony's key note speaker. She delivered a contemplation on the journey of medicine, and on keeping the goal at top of mind while still recognizing the individual steps of the process. She reminded the new students that the tools they'd developed and knowledge they'd already acquired in their lives were all part of the process that brought them to today and would carry them forward as they continued to grow and change. She emphasized that that the patience they'd already shown in applying, the perseverance in finding the school for them and, in most cases, moving thousands of miles, were all steps in their journey. She punctuated this by thanking their families and friends for the support they gave that bought them to their white coat ceremony.
She cautioned that their work was only beginning, but to remember that the best way through is to approach each day as its own challenge. That there will be days that may be overwhelming, but every Trinity graduate out there practicing medicine was a testament to their ability to succeed. Offering guidelines, she suggested the following:
1) Adapt – to the environment and current changes in medicine.
2) Rest stops should not take you out of your journey but are great for self-reflection to recognize strengths and deficiencies.
Dr. Scott connected in the donning of the white coat with the phases of the journey reminded them that, “This white coat. . . is a symbol of distinction, but it must be worn with humility. When you wear the white coat today, it is not going to give you anything, it symbolizes a commitment. We expect that you are adaptable and strong, and that you’re sympathetic, empathetic, mature, honest, genuine, and caring.”
With that concluded, Dr. Frances Jack-Edwards invited faculty members Wezenet Tewodros, PhD; Yulia Modna, MD, PhD; luiia Zhuravlova, MD, PhD; and Keshab Paudel, MBSS, MD to place the white coats on the shoulders of the new students as a traditional demonstration of Trinity’s confidence in, and support of, each of them.