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With white coats comes great responsibility

Posted by Cheryl Bell on October 18, 2017 in News
First-year dentistry students receive their white coats from senior students. (Danny Abriel photos)


Dressed and brushed up, their usual blue scrubs set aside for the occasion,

29 first-year dental hygiene, 40 dentistry, nine Qualifying Program, and three Malaysian students filed into the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on October 5, 2017, to take part in the annual White Coat ceremony.

As their parents looked on, the students recited the Oral Health Professional Oath, signed the Student Code of Professional Conduct, and received their white coats – the symbol of becoming a healthcare professional – from senior students.

Speaking on behalf of the CDSPI, vice-chairman of the board of directors Dr. Jeff Williams advised students to “wear your white coat with pride and responsibility. You are the future of our profession.”

Words of wisdom came from other quarters as well. Dr. Mark Bauman, regent of the American College of Dentists, brought greetings from his institution and told students that being professional involves “facing ethical challenges every day and doing the right thing all of the time.”

Senior students Tyler Nelson (DDS3), Kristen Gamache (DipDH2), and Kashish Kohli (DDS3) shared their thoughts about the traits needed to be professional: honesty, integrity, accountability, respect, and empathy.

Place the needs of others above your own

“You now have the power to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Kohli. “But remember, as Peter Parker was once told, with great power comes great responsibility. As a healthcare professional, not only are you expected to place the needs of others above your own, but you are also expected to be kind, calm, compassionate, and unfailingly polite.”

The ceremony was also an opportunity to present academic awards to students across all four years of the dentistry program and both years of the dental hygiene program.

Acting dean Dr. Ben Davis concluded the ceremony with a final reminder to students that being a healthcare professional is a “way of life, not a 9-5 job. You are expected to respect and honour the oath. We’ll be watching you to make sure you do.”