On Aug 31, 2019 I had the privilege to attend the “White Coat Ceremony” of Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore. 250 students were seated in the lecture hall in The Centre for Basic Sciences at the Bejai campus. My son is one amongst the students.
The Heads of Departments (HOD) of the basic sciences, HODs of other departments, faculty members and administrators of Kasturba Medical College graced the ceremony. Dr. G.G. Lakshman Prabhu initiated the ceremony by explaining the history and importance of the WHITE COAT & WHITE COAT CEREMONY to the medical students, following which Dr. Nutan Kamath also gave an overview of the importance of the white coat ceremony and the significance to the students of KMC.
The white coat reminds physicians of their professional duties, as prescribed by Hippocrates, to lead their lives and practice their art in uprightness and honour. The white coat is a symbol of our medical profession. The White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage, welcoming the new medical students into the medical profession. As medical students, they are bound by the same professional commitments that bind all physicians. The ceremony joins the symbol of the white coat with the virtues of altruism, responsibility, duty, honor, respect, and compassion.
The dignitaries who graced the event then went onto the stage, following which the students assembled in line of 5 at a time. The students introduced themselves, walked onto the stage and were adorned with white coats by the dignitaries. I saw happiness in students when they had the white coats put on them.
Dr. Chakrapani, Professor of Medicine, recited the Hippocratic Oath with all the students repeating after him. The students were enthusiastic while taking the oath. It reminded me of our medical college days when I took the Hippocratic Oath. One standout point in the oath is “I’ll attend to my health, well-being, and ability to provide care of the highest standard”. The physician wellness and physician burnout have been neglected which is leading to stressful situations.
Vote of Thanks:
Dr. Mangala Pai, Professor & HOD of Anatomy reflected on the foundation course, emphasizing the core competencies in medical education. She commended the students for active participation in various events and instructed the students to reflect on all sessions and white coat ceremony. This exercise will improve writing skills and critical thinking. She thanked all the dignitaries who graced the event for giving their valuable time, and she also thanked the faculty members, dean, additional dean, other administrators and staff members who were actively involved in and supported the development of the foundation course.
My son’s input:
After discussing with my son about the events and classes that occurred during the foundation course, I was impressed with the content that was covered. Students were introduced to the professional, ethical, and interactive aspects of medicine. They were informed of the importance of professionalism, such as having respect for patients & family, colleagues, and superiors, and also towards the noble profession of medicine. Students learned the ethics required to practice medicine, such as confidentiality, altruism, and the necessity to put the patient before anything else. Emphasizing the good doctor-patient relationship, the course also gave students insights on how to communicate with patients and families, while also introducing them to the Kannada language, which is necessary for them to communicate with local patients during their MBBS. I was also delighted to know that the course allowed the students to shadow doctors at KMC Attavar, and also participate in field visits to an Anganwadi, an urban health center, and a primary health center. These visits allowed the students to personally see the values mentioned above, and it showed them how they must interact with patients, colleagues, hospital staff, and superiors. All of this shows me that the administration and faculty are very serious and passionate about molding these students into the best doctors that they can be.