The School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) of the College Health Allied Sciences (CoHAS), University of Cape Coast, has held its 7th White Coat ceremony for 68 students who have completed the first cycle of their medical education.
With this transition, the students who were robed by their lecturers have qualified to commence the second phase of their training to become medical doctors.
White Coat ceremonies are held as rites of passage to symbolize that students have received foundations in medical education and are prepared both physically and mentally to continue at the next level which is the clinical stage.
Welcome Address by Provost
Welcoming the students into the clinical stage of their training to become medical doctors, the Provost of CoHAS, Prof. Harold Steward Amonoo Kuofi, said the first and second cycles were both important to the training of the students. He however, said “the 2nd cycle has the clinical emphasis and professional attitude to medical practice and it ensures that the student know and understand that they have a responsibility towards their patients, UCC and Ghana”.
Prof. Amonoo-Kuofi said since the inception of the school, its students have excelled wherever they have found themselves. According to the Provost, the 68 students who were being robed have passed 18 serious and rigorous examinations and have thus satisfied all requirements to commence their journey to become qualified medical doctors. He mentioned that UCCSMS has a different training regime from other medical schools in the country saying “UCCSMS’ curriculum is fashioned along the best practices in the world”.
Importance of White Coat Ceremony
The Dean of UCCSMS, Prof. Francis Ofei said the ceremony was an important one since it marked a change in the way things were done in the medical practice. He advised the new level 400 students not to just pass through the white ceremony, but observe all the ethics of the profession. He reminded them that whatever they do, henceforth would affect a patient and therefore asked them to be very careful as trainee doctors.
Treat the Patient with Respect
The Chairman of Medical and Dental Council, Dr. Eric Asamoah, who was the guest speaker, impressed upon the students to be dedicated and proficient in their training since medicine was learnt at the bedside and not the classroom.
“The patient will be your greatest teacher so you have to show respect to all you come into contact with. Treat each other with respect so you can treat your patients with respect”, he explained.
He told the students to be diligent in their studies and career since you will have a positive impact on people’s lives adding, “Sometimes your mistakes are irreversible in the emergency room”.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. D. D. Kuupole, when he took his turn remarked that the colour of the coat they were wearing symbolised peace and compassion without which they cannot be called medical doctors.
“I am sure when you finally go out as doctors, we will not be walking into the hands of shabby and careless doctors”, he added.
White Coat Symbolises the Enormous Task Ahead
The Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Ebenezer Appiah Denkyira who chaired the function, told the student-doctors that the coat they were wearing should remind them of the enormity of the task ahead of them and must, therefore, prepare adequately to face it.
He said that the client who would sit in front of them was a friend and a fellow human being in pain and must treat them as such and if they did that they would succeed.
“Your friendship alone will make the difference as you attend to the client”, he said.
He asked them to bear in mind that they were putting on coats of candour, kindness, respect; saying “it is a robe of your profession so keep it well and wear it well as well”.