National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) sent forth 82 first trimester students on their journey toward becoming healthcare professionals during the formal White Coat Ceremony, Thursday, October 20, on the Lombard, Illinois, campus.
Surrounded by family, friends, NUHS faculty, staff and others, the students officially donned their white coats for the first time, received a pin symbolic of their calling, and accepted their black doctor’s bag outfitted with the diagnostic tools of their profession.
Guest speaker Patricia Coe, DC, ND, MS, massage therapy clinic supervisor and naturopathic medicine clinician, welcomed the students to the wonderful autumn season of changing leaves, colorful pumpkins and dressing up in costumes for Halloween. With a laugh, she noted that today, as they donned their white coats, they would be putting on the most expensive “costume” they would ever wear.
However, Dr. Coe noted, the definition of the word “costume” is clothing worn by someone to look like someone else. “And when you put on that white coat,” she said, “you will be transformed into someone else–someone that others will come to for help, someone who others will ask for solutions to their problems.”
“You all have the same tools that you will need already–you have eyes, ears, hands and a brain,” she remarked. “But the brain is what makes you a doctor, not just a technician. Use that to bring empathy and compassion to your patients.”
Speaking from experience, Dr. Coe also urged the future doctors to make time for themselves as they navigate the difficult, stressful, and long hours of their medical training. “Make time for family and friends. Spend time in your community. Watch a movie. Keep connected with others.”
President Joseph Stiefel reiterated Dr. Coe’s suggestions for managing the life changing experience ahead, and gestured toward the audience of “those who are here to support you.” In particular, he pointed to the NUHS faculty, with a sum total of nearly 800 years of experience. “They know what they are doing. They are here to make you the best doctor you can be.”