Each student from the UF College of Medicine class of 2017 hustled across the stage, arms outstretched, before spinning and fitting into the new, bright white medical coat presented to them during the White Coat Ceremony Nov. 24 in the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
After all 134 students donned their coats, parents and family members took their time congratulating the students’ progress. With a standing ovation, a few shouts of “That’s my boy!” from proud fathers and much cheering, the medical students officially transitioned from the “relative comfort of the laboratory and the classroom to the patient’s bedside,” said Patrick Duff, M.D., associate dean for student affairs.
This year marked the second time that first-year medical students received their white coats at the end of their first semester, rather than at the end of their second year of medical school. The previous class was the first to fully experience the college’s new curriculum changes, which included integrating clinical skills earlier and throughout training.
“We thought it was very premature to give it to you on Day 1 of medical school because you really hadn’t earned it,” Duff said. “Now, we think you have because of your strong work in the rigorous introductory courses in your first semester. You’ve finished your first major mountain climb of medical school.”
Michael Good, M.D., dean of the UF College of Medicine, said earning the white coat is one of the most important transitions in a medical student’s journey to becoming a physician.
“Today, as you slide your arms into your white coat, you will be shouldering a new set of responsibilities,” Good said. “You will be wearing the uniform of the profession — a profession that requires skill, trust and, most importantly, compassion.”
Maureen Novak, M.D., associate dean for medical education and Duff held open the white coats as students marched across the stage to the cheers of their peers and families. Joseph Fantone, M.D., senior associate dean for educational affairs, and Good straightened white-coat collars, shook students’ hands and posed for the memorable moment.
Peyton Keeling is the second Keeling to receive his UF white coat, as his sister, Brett Keeling, M.D., graduated from the UF College of Medicine last year.
“I have an outstanding group of instructors to guide me through the process,” Peyton Keeling said of the college.
Peyton served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Afghanistan before enrolling in medical school. His father was an Army doctor for 24 years, and Peyton and his sister represent the fifth generation of physicians in the Keeling family.
“It’s always such a moving ceremony and such a commitment in their lives,” said Susan Keeling, Peyton’s mother.For more photos, visit Facebook.com/ufdrgator.