Hundreds of new Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students gathered today at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) for the highly-anticipated White Coat Ceremony.
University alumni helped the new students into their white lab coats for the symbolic ceremony which marks their “rite-of-passage” entrance into the medical profession.
The students were reminded in the featured address by Dr. William Pinsky, president and chief executive office of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), that their entrance into a medical university was only the start of a lifelong profession of learning.
Pinsky told the students and their families who were in attendance that “you will get out of medical school only what you put into it”. He shared some life lessons with the students urging them to follow professionalism, honesty and integrity, competency and specialized knowledge as they progressed in their careers.
The featured speaker warned the students to never compromise their beliefs. “Keep your word, maintain your integrity, never compromise your values . . . You should always be doing the right thing and with all of this, please remain humble; hold yourself accountable for all of your behavior.”
“Your white coat is a symbol of this professionalism. Your acceptance of it today, establishes your initial commitment to uphold and demonstrate the behavior inherent in the attributes presented. As you are learning the Krebs Cycle, the Starling curve and mechanism, and other seemingly obscure basic science precepts, you may wonder, why do I need this “useless” information? Remember, it is all about creating that special competency – one of the building blocks of your professionalism. This is a serious business, and should be treated as such,” Pinksy continued.
While advising the students to expand their scientific and behavioural medical knowledge, the president of ECFMG encouraged them to seek out new opportunities and experiences as they embarked on this new journey. He urged them to not pursue the career with ill or selfish intentions but for the pure intent to treat the sick and help others.
“If you are in medical school because your parents or other family members have ‘pushed’ you in this direction; or because you believe it will give you status, then it may be that your pro-social proclivity is not what is needed to be a successful empathetic caregiver.
“Medical School is not easy, and the pathway to your degree and postgraduate training is arduous. Please remember, though, you are on this pathway in order to eventually heal the sick and help maintain the health in others. This needs to be done in a mindful, empathetic manner.”
Meanwhile, Glen Hoffsis, trustee of the Ross University School of Medicine Board of Trustees urged the freshers to take full advantage of their new first-rate learning and living facilities and to set the academic standard as the first group of students to attend the Barbados campus of the RUSM.
“You are the first class to be getting your education in this location, in this facility… you have a unique opportunity to establish an optimal social and academic culture and set a high standard of performance that will set the bar for future classes,” said Hoffsis.
“We will expect optimized student well-being as a result of this location and as a result we will expect high academic achievement,” he added.
Chancellor and Dean of the RUSM, Dr. William Owen Jr also noted that the university had high expectations for the 2023 graduates.
“Class of 2023 will learn the value of maintaining patient health as much as the value of providing state of the art health care. We will teach you that your responsibility for patient health extends beyond the event that caused them to originally seek your help,” Owen added.