By Kate Hunger
The coronavirus pandemic delayed the traditional white coat ceremony for the Division of Respiratory Care Class of 2022 by several months—but the wait was worth it, says master’s student Destiny Mayfield.
On May 28, Mayfield was one of 52 bachelor’s and master’s respiratory care students who slipped on their white coats in a rite of passage for those in the profession.
“Our class and the class before us had some real challenges having to adjust to learning through a pandemic,” said Mayfield. “Being able to do something together to signify all of our hard work, our dedication to patients and the move into a clinical care rotation was really special.”
Mayfield, whose parents attended the ceremony, captured the milestone in a post-ceremony selfie with her dad outside Holly Auditorium. During the ceremony, students were reminded of what the white coat symbolizes—a commitment to the profession and caring for patients—and took the respiratory care oath, said Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Professor Kristina Ramirez, MPH, RRT, CHES, FCCP. The ceremony is typically held in February to coincide with the start of clinical rotations but was postponed because of the pandemic.
“It was the first event on campus where they could celebrate,” Ramirez said. “They were happy their families were there, too.”
Now in an ICU rotation, Mayfield said she is excited about her future profession. As someone with asthma, she can relate to her patients, she said.
“Having empathy toward our patients is paramount to the care we offer,” she said. “I look forward to learning and serving patients in the coming years.”