White Coat Ceremony

Yesterday was Studoc's White Coat Ceremony, which is evidently the first big milestone of medical school. 

We kept joking that it's like "reverse graduation," because it is.  It's initiation.  But it runs just like graduation....

......you invite your family and proud parents.  Your name is in the program.  You sit in the first rows in the auditorium with your other new classmates and listen to the faculty give inspiring and instructing speeches.  Then each new med student files up on the stage and someone important helps you slide on your coat for all to see.  You flash a big grin at the audience, donning your bright white coat and looking all official, and the photographer snaps your picture.  The families applaud wildly.

It was actually a really nice ceremony, despite the fact that we had to entertain our 1 year old for 2 hours (special thanks to Grandpa and Grandma for helping), and despite the fact that it did take quite a while for each med student to be "coated" one by one.  But how special!......I was glad they took the time to make it personal.

After the ceremony there were refreshments and Studoc took us for a brief tour of the campus.  It was a really special ceremony, and it was especially exciting to me because it marked the beginning of something big instead of the end.

I thought the school's message in the program did an excellent job of describing the White Coat Ceremony in a meaningful way:

"The white coat is a symbolic, non-verbal communication used to express and reaffirm a fundamental belief in a system that society observes.  The authority of dress is serious and purposeful, not social, casual or random.  It is a guide to patient and doctor on how to react.  Hippocrates advised doctors how they should dress.  The dress of healers of primitive societies was an important part of the paraphernalia of healing.  The uniform should imply a purely professional interest.  It must convey to even the most anxious a sense of seriousness and purpose that helps provide reassurance and confidence that his/her complaints will be dealt with competently and seriously.  The white coat provides the milieu for you to become physicians.  It is a cloak of compassion.  The White Coat Ceremony was developed to honor our medical students as they accept the responsibility of the doctor-patient relationship and the professionalism within the practice of medicine."


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