By Kate Hunger
Thirty-five second-year Physical Therapy students symbolically made the transition from the classroom to the clinical phase of their education at the 2018 Doctor of Physical Therapy Pinning and White Coat Ceremony.
The students will begin 30 weeks of clinical rotations in May.
School of Health Professions Dean David C. Shelledy, Ph.D., RRT, FAARC, FASAHP, addressed the students, their families, and friends during the event in the Holly Auditorium. He shared the history of both the white coat and the relatively new tradition of white coat ceremonies.
"White coats have been worn by physicians and laboratory personnel since the late 19th century," Shelledy told those gathered. "the donning of the white coat generally stressed entry into the profession with a focus on ethics, professional practice, responsibility, compassion, and respect."
Program speakers include Otha Green, PT, a 1982 graduate of the PT program, who shared his experience as a patient following a stroke, and student Michael Nash, PT, president of the Class of 2019, said Greg Ernst, Ph.D., PT, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.
"The white coat is a symbol of being a medical professional," Ernst said. "It's a celebration of finishing the academic work but it also symbolizes a responsibility to take care of patients."