RCSI hosts virtual White Coat Ceremony

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More than 580 students will take part in a virtual White Coat Ceremony at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences today.

In response to the unprecedented situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, RCSI’s annual White Coat Ceremony will move to a virtual platform for the first time in its history.

The White Coat Ceremony is undertaken as a commencement ceremony for all physician associates and medicine, physiotherapy and pharmacy students – marking their new role as student health professionals.

Students will be invited by Professor P. Ronan. O’Connell, RCSI President, to make a commitment to professionalism that mirrors the graduates’ declaration recited at their conferring day. The declaration signals the responsibilities they must begin to undertake as future health professionals from the start of their academic training.

Professor Cathal Kelly, Chief Executive/Registrar, RCSI, welcomed the new students: “Today is a momentous and joyous occasion for all of you, your family and friends. You are commencing your studies at a time of great challenge and change, and also one of great opportunity. No doubt you have seen the incredible work undertaken by frontline workers all over the world – this is a very significant time in our history to begin a healthcare career.”

Addressing the students, Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, said: “From the outset, you are expected to develop and exercise professionalism in many ways over your programmes. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this all the more essential from the very outset of your studies. The world looks to health professionals and scientists for guidance on how to prevent and treat this viral condition. And as you know, prevention is all about behaviour. So we must all be role models for the best evidence on prevention. You are the health professionals of the future, and the trainee health professionals of now.”

DuPreez Smith, President of the RCSI Students’ Union, said: “Although the White Coat Ceremony may look different this year, it doesn’t change what this event represents – your accession into the healthcare community. All of your hard work has come to fruition. Make the most of this opportunity, but also remember to enjoy yourself. Wear your white coats with pride and confidence; this is what you were meant to do.”

During the ceremony, students will share presentations describing their student life experiences. Friends and family are invited to watch the proceedings live and share their wishes. 

Watch a stream of the White Coat Ceremony at 1pm (Irish Standard Time) on Wednesday, 29 October here.