The University of South Alabama College of Medicine will hold its annual White Coat Ceremony at the USA Mitchell Center on June 26, 2010, at 10 a.m. During the ceremony, rising third-year medical students will be cloaked with their first white coats, the traditional dress of physicians for more than 100 years.
“The white coat symbolizes the profession and the trust and responsibility between a patient and their doctor,” said Dr. Maggi O’Brien, associate dean at the USA College of Medicine. “It represents the privilege that physicians have in caring for patients and the confidence patients place in them.”
In the United States, medical schools typically organize their four-year curriculum into two distinct parts - the preclinical and the clinical years. This tradition holds true at USA, where students spend the first two years in a classroom setting learning the fundamentals of basic science and pathology, followed by two years of hands-on training in the clinical environment under the supervision and mentoring of faculty and resident physicians.
The ceremony marks a significant milestone for these students - the point where they will begin their clinical rotations and start interacting with patients. Their third year begins on Monday, June 28.
For students, the White Coat ceremony serves as a reminder of the importance and responsibility they take by dedicating themselves to the care of patients. During the ceremony, the students in unison will take the Medical Student Oath, a promise to uphold the human aspects of medicine, such as sensitivity, compassion and respect for patients.
Each year, the USA Medical Alumni Association sponsors this event.