By Kate Hunger
Twenty-nine first-year respiratory care students officially put on their white coats for the first time on Feb. 9 during the Class of 2019 White Coat Ceremony, a right of passage that introduces students to the profession.
The ceremony marks the transition from the classroom to clinical rotations, which the first-year students will begin on March 1, said Kristina Ramirez, MPH, RRT, CHES, assistant professor and director of clinical education in the Division of Respiratory Care.
"I had my own white coat ceremony six years ago on campus," she recalled noting that the white coat represents the responsibility and privilege of caring for patients.
"This is a time that you have to draw on your passion, empathy, and professionalism," she said of clinical rotations.
The program includes remarks by School of Health Professions Dean David C. Shelledy, Ph.D., RRT, FAARC, FASAHP.
"Participation in the ceremony and receipt of your first white coat should not be considered an entitlement nor does it confer an elite status," Shelledy told those gathered. "The focus must always remain on high levels of professionalism and ethical conduct. The hallmarks of professionalism include skill, good judgment, ethical practice, respect, integrity and collaboration, and a dedication to quality provision of access to health care and patient safety."
The gathering also included the Lambda Beta Honor Society induction of seven respiratory care students from the Class of 2018: Omnia Almuhanna, Nowaf Alobaidi, Mohammed Alomran, Hawra Alowiwi, Sarah Haley, Berenise Romo, Jeremy Stull, who was recognized for receiving the David C. Shelledy Endowed Scholarship in Respiratory Care Leadership.
Two other senior scholarship recipients also were recognized. Angel Melendez received the Sandy Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Respiratory Care, and Rachel Stone received the David L. Vines Endowed Scholarship for Clinical Excellence in Respiratory Care.