Professionalism underpins symbolic ceremony

    White Coat Ceremony 2018

    By Cheryl Deslaurier on May 2, 2018

    The colour white is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection. Add that to a coat in the dentistry and medical program and it means you’ve entered an exciting occasion that marks the beginning of patient care.

    Kelsey Won, DDS Class 2020, along with Drew Young, spoke at this year’s ceremony.

    Won used a metaphor to describe the request to do the student charge at the White Coat Ceremony.

    “My first thought was: A charge? Like a battle? That sounds pretty intense,” she said. “But if we think about it, we ARE being called into the role of a clinician.”

    The White Coat Ceremony is symbolic for when students enter a point in their education where they will start the clinical part of their training and become an integral part of patient-care delivery, but underpinning it is professionalism.

    “Since day one in this program, the word professionalism has been all around us,” said Won. “From now on, I instead challenge my classmates to pull professionalism not from a place of fear or formality, but instead from a place of pride for this profession. To represent dentistry should not be a weight on our back but instead worn like a badge of honor, and that is a symbol that we will gladly embrace along with this white coat.”

    Young emphasized the importance of all the students to recognize the journey they are on. 

    "During the last two years, all of us have continued to make sacrifices in order to prepare for the dental profession," says Young. "Each of us has dreamed of the day we can call ourselves dentists. Each one of us let that dream fuel our motivation through all of the long days and struggles that lead us here. We want to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped us get to this point."

    Dr. Trudy Aucoin, School of Dentistry faculty member, and comprehensive care delivery director, led the charge to the students.

     “We are all very excited about welcoming you into the clinic to start managing ‘Real Patients’. Gone are the days that you can wrap your manikin’s lips over his chin for better access, or hang the patient upside down for better visibility, or unscrew the tooth and replace it when you make a mistake. Now, the teeth you will be working on have a live person attached to them. That complicates everything,” she said. 

    Aucoin also said that you learn the most from your mistakes and that they will be there to guide and support you.

    “Class of 2020, my charge to you is to build strong, healthy relationships and make the most of this wonderful opportunity to make a difference,” said Aucoin.

    On behalf of class 2020, Won and Young accepted this charge. In fact, their exact response was: “Bring it on!”

    “The students become our junior colleagues and integral members of our patient care delivery teams, all the while learning and training for their eventual entry into the profession of Dentistry.” said Dr. Paul Major, lead of the School of Dentistry. “Congratulations class of 2020!”