Important moments in one’s life and career are often marked by rites of passage: symbolic rituals that connote the completion of one phase of life and the beginning of another. The White Coat Convocation is a rite of passage for students in St. John’s University’s Radiologic Sciences program—one that signifies a professional relationship with other colleagues who provide health-care services, as well as those they serve.
The ceremony, held on November 8 in the D'Angelo Center Ballroom, reaffirms the medical community’s support of the educational process that prepares future health-care providers for practice. The white coat with which students are presented is more than a lab coat; it signifies a cloak of caring, compassion, and service.
“The white coat ceremony is celebrated by many health-care programs and signifies the entry into health-care training,” observed Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., Dean, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “The white coat itself is a tangible symbol of a student’s commitment to their profession and the patients they will serve.”
“The white coat ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of students in the professional phase of the Radiologic Sciences program as they begin their experiential education experience and journey as health-care providers,” noted Jennifer G. Chiu ’06SVC, Ed.D., R.T. (R)(CT), Associate Professor/Industry Professional and Clinical Health Professions Program Director, Radiologic Sciences.
“The white coat is a physical representation of a new group of techs accepting their role in a health-care system,” stressed student Kleanthis Plakas. “It’s a universal sign that the individual who wears it is an active participant in a patient’s healing process. The ceremony represents that transition to the professional world. We’re promising to hold ourselves to the highest ethical standard.”
“I’m proud to be part of a program that not only encourages the ethical practice of diagnostic medicine but grants their students ample opportunities to succeed,” Kleanthis added. “All of my professors are great mentors. They teach us that if you sincerely want something, you must put your best effort toward achieving that goal.”
Student Cynthia Carmona called the ceremony an important milestone. “I was so happy to have friends and family there to bear witness. Neither of my parents went to college, so it is very important for me to make them proud and be successful. This ceremony represents that we are one step closer to getting there.”
She added, “Our program gives us rigorous preparation that will enable us to provide patients with the highest quality of care. Our professors go above and beyond to offer us all of the tools necessary to succeed.”
Student Olivia Younghese recalled that taking the Oath of Commitment made the responsibility real. “We pledge to work to the best of our abilities for our patients. The Radiologic Sciences program prepares us for the future. It’s a small program that is similar to a family. With the support of the faculty, along with the support we provide each other, we will reach our goals.”
Noting that the ceremony commemorated the halfway point in the program, student Matthew Ventura commented, “I can’t say enough about the faculty. They have been integral to my growth as I continue to adapt and strengthen my academic understanding of the material and apply it in the clinical rotation phase.”
He added, “They teach us to manage stressful schedules and emphasize self-care. I am lucky to have such a huge and enormously compassionate support system, and I am confident that I will be more than prepared as I begin the next phase of my journey.”