Third-year Medical Students Earn New White Coats, Transition to Clerkships


John X. Thomas, Jr., PhD, senior associate dean for medical education, welcomed students, parents, and fellow faculty to the event. Thomas noted the much-anticipated shift that comes with this white coat ceremony: “This point in your career is a significant one because it marks a transition from the classroom to the hospital,” he said.

While commemorating a significant milestone in the students’ medical education, the event also served as the venue for presenting numerous honors — awards given to faculty who made an exceptional impact on students. Recipients included:

As part of the ceremony, Third-year student Laura Sestokas was chosen by the faculty to recite her work, “Textbook-to-Bedside.”

Following the distribution of faculty awards, third-year student Laura Sestokas took to the podium to recite her poem “Textbook-to-Bedside.” Her work, selected by faculty to be read at the ceremony, took listeners on a journey through her first two years of medical school — from immersion in textbooks and lectures to hands-on experience at the bedside. After two years gaining knowledge about how the body should work and the many ways it can fail, Sestokas confirmed that she is prepared for the challenge ahead.

“The most basic aspect of being a physician,” Sestokas concluded, “is to be kind and be humbled by the honor of caring for another human being.”

Next, Raymond Curry, MD, vice dean for education, invited students to outfit one another with a new white coat, this one featuring their name embroidered on the chest. The coat serves as a symbol of new beginnings — the start of their two-year clerkship, a period where they will work directly with patients and learn alongside trained clinicians.

“Your responsibilities will change very much,” Curry said. “You were in the classroom, now you will spend time with patients and with patients’ problems every day. I am quite confident that you are ready for the next step.”

To close the ceremony, Interim Dean Jeff Glassroth, MD, led students in a recitation of the Declaration of Geneva. By reading these words, also referred to as the Physician’s Oath, students renew their promise to “maintain by all means in [their]power, the honor and the noble traditions of the medical profession.”

“The Declaration represents a responsibility to your patients. It’s an oath and a solemn commitment,” said Glassroth. “It’s a reminder of why you came to medical school in the first place.”

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