Fifty-six students officially began their academic careers at the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy on Aug. 23. These first-year pharmacy students received their white coats during the White Coat Ceremony in Belk Auditorium.
“The white coat is symbolic of the professionalism, caring and trust which these students must earn from the patients they care for,” said Dr. Dick Stull, interim dean of the PC School of Pharmacy.
“In the nineteenth century, respect for the certainty of science was in stark contrast to the quackery and mysticism of nineteenth century healthcare. To emphasize the transition to the more scientific approach to modern medicine, healthcare providers sought to represent themselves as scientists and began to wear the most recognizable symbol of the scientist – the white laboratory coat.
“As each of your walk across the stage today to receive your white coat, your journey in pharmacy will begin.”
Honor and Professionalism
Also during the ceremony, the new students recited the Honor Code pledge as well as the Pledge of Professionalism.
“We take the honor code seriously, expecting all members of the PC community to uphold the same standard of honor and integrity, which leads to a trusting environment to work, study, and live,” said Cyndi Fraser, assistant dean for Professional and Student Affairs.
Fraser also said that the Pledge of Professionalism shows the students’ “commitment to the values of the profession and dedication to develop as professionals.”
“Embrace every moment”
Each year, the Preceptor of the Year delivers the address at the White Coat Ceremony. This year’s Preceptor of the Year and White Coat Ceremony Guest Speaker was Dr. Talisha Ratliff, the pharmacy manager at Palmetto Carolina Treatment Center in Duncan, S.C.
Ratliff urged the new students to “embrace every moment” they’re in pharmacy school and to remember one of her favorite quotations: “Everyone you meet is your student and your teacher.”
She asked the students to develop relationships with students and professors, saying they were all on the same journey. She illustrated the close relationships they can form at PC School of Pharmacy by pointing out two professors from the audience who helped shape her career as well as two pharmacy students whose lives and careers she is shaping.
“It is no longer a competition,” Ratliff said. “You have all made it to pharmacy school. Now, build each other up and become a family. Help each other make it to May 2023.”
Stull addressed the students after they put on their white coats.
“From now and forevermore, wear your white coat with humility,” he said. “Each time you put it on, make a pledge and say a silent prayer that you will have the knowledge, strength compassion, conviction and the courage to do all that you can to be worthy of the sacred trust that your patients and profession give to you.”
More About the White Coat
Want to learn more about the meaning of the white coat in pharmacy? Check out this short video about the white coat that PC School of Pharmacy students wear.