Nearly 300 NYIT College of Osteopathic Medical (NYITCOM) students received their white coats last week in a ceremony marking their transition from classroom to clinic.
Members of the Class of 2017, who recently completed their second year of medical school, will start their third year rotations this month at NYITCOM-affiliated clinics and hospitals primarily in New York and New Jersey.
Alumni, including many faculty members, helped each student don a white coat on stage at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, N.Y.
“We have the privilege of working with people at the most vulnerable moments of their lives,” said keynote speaker Ursula Landman (D.O. ’94). “You as a future doctor need to have respect for humanity and even place others above yourself ... The rewards are not just the tangible (ones) from medicine. You will experience patients’ and families’ joys and share in their lives.”
NYITCOM Dean Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., told the group of 298 students that their appetites to “go out and do the right thing” would distinguish them from others. He also noted that the white coat is a show of NYITCOM's support and faith in their work as physicians.
Vice President for Medical Affairs and Global Health Jerry Balentine, D.O., urged students to change the so-called “white coat syndrome” (when patients' blood pressure and anxiety increases during a doctor’s visit) into an experience where patients feel relaxed and secure in the hands of a compassionate doctor.
The idea of "clinical mindfulness" is important in face-to-face or virtual patient encounters of the future, said NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D.
“Continue to be students, continue to have empathy, considering every case and patient an opportunity to learn more and to establish a connection with a person who has sought your professional expertise but who yearns to be heard and respected,” Guiliano said.
Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., vice president for health sciences and medical affairs, closed the ceremony by leading the newly coated students through an oath professing their commitment to lifelong learning, the osteopathic profession, and the delivery of quality health care.