After spending the past two years focused on the didactic portion of students’ training, the White Coat Ceremony signifies the beginning of a year-long clinical education as a physical therapy student.
“While I am extremely excited to begin my clinical experiences, it is a bittersweet moment,” said student Katelyn Mitchell. “My classmates and I have spent the majority of two years together. We are very close as a class. I am looking forward to our next chapter together. Although we will no longer be in class every day, we will still remain in touch. I am honored that I get to watch my friends grow into practicing clinicians."
The ceremony is a right of passage that serves as a symbol for the responsibility, obligations, honor, excellence, accountability, compassion and inclusiveness required of their chosen profession.
“The faculty are extremely proud of what our inaugural class of DPT students has achieved to this point in the program,” said Dr. Jean Irion, chair of the department of physical therapy. “These students will represent themselves, our program and Emory & Henry College with the utmost of professionalism and compassion in patient care during their clinical internships.”
After receiving their personalized white coats, students recited the Oath of Professionalism during the ceremony.
Gary Peacock, former chair of the Smyth County Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, also addressed the group. Peacock has been a champion of the E&H School of Health Sciences from its inception, and his leadership helped finalize a $5 million grant that helped the School of Health Sciences get off the ground.
The DPT program is a three-year, 118-credit-hour graduate program that reflects Emory & Henry’s core values of addressing issues of public concern through professions that contribute to the public good and educating professionals who are critical thinkers prepared to meet the challenges of a changing health care environment.
“The ceremony marks a significant milestone for Emory & Henry College and the School of Health Sciences,” said Dr. Lou Fincher, dean of the School of Health Sciences. “Having our inaugural DPT cohort transition to their full-time clinical internships is an important step in the students’ training and an equally important step in the College’s mission to help improve access to quality healthcare in this region.”
This cohort of 28 students includes the first students enrolled at the School of Health Sciences. This May, the School of Health Sciences admitted its first class of Physician Assistant students, bringing its current enrollment on the Marion campus to 120 graduate health science students. The School expects its enrollment to grow to 180 students this fall when it welcomes new classes of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy students.