Some medical schools perform a white coat ceremony for their newly matriculated students to celebrate their entry into the profession. Education should do the same.
I recently attended Temple University School of Medicine’s White Coat Ceremony, a truly inspiring occasion for the class of 2017. In front of a jubilant SRO crowd of family and friends, the 210 students paraded on stage in groups of 15 and were “coated” by medical school faculty to symbolize official entry into the medical profession and commitment to patient care. Watching our good friend, Jason, be rewarded for his incredible hard work and perseverance brought tears to ours eyes. There he stood on stage with his white doctor coat on — having finished many long years of very tough academic work and, yes, getting ready for many more years of very challenging clinical preparation. The sheer joy and high honor to be a part of this profession was in full bloom in Jason and everywhere else in that auditorium.
From where I sit, doctoring and teaching are of equal measure when it comes to providing essential life-altering services and contributing to the common good. And I dare say, the knowledge and skill sets required for success, while entirely different, should be equally demanding in both professions. In both, the future well being of community and country rests in the hands of well-prepared professionals. So medical schools do it right in celebrating entry into the training for a hallowed profession. Schools of education should take notice and do the same.
Jason’s White Coat