Pharmacy Students Transition Into their Professional Years
The 58 pharmacists-in-training were urged to uphold the highest ethical standards and actively contribute to the evolution of a fast-changing profession as they donned their white coats.
Marking their transition from pre-pharmacy to the professional program, the LAU School of Pharmacy celebrated the acceptance of 58 students into Professional Year 1 at the annual White Coat Ceremony which was held on the Byblos campus on October 10.
American-style pharmacy education is the hallmark of LAU in Lebanon and the region, asserted LAU President Michel E. Mawad, as the LAU School of Pharmacy is the only one outside the US to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. “With every renewal of accreditation, we scale a new peak in our continuous improvement journey, which has no finish line,” he said.
Imparting valuable advice to the students, Dr. Mawad urged them to “proceed with confidence nourished by learning, with pride dignified by humility and with well-deserved privileges ennobled through the spirit of service. Make sure that integrity always comes first, and let ethics guide you in all that you do.”
In the same spirit, Dean Naser Alsharif invited the students to commit themselves to lifelong learning, innovation and intra-and-interprofessional collaboration as they will be working within pharmacy and broader healthcare teams. Each student was requested to sign a collective document that will abide the code of conduct, code of ethics and the pledge of professionalism. He emphasized that the essence of signing of the document and wearing the white coat is to become good citizens of LAU, the School of Pharmacy and their chosen profession.
Dr. Alsharif stressed that as administrators, faculty and staff, pledge to be also good citizens and role models working with and for the students. He also underlined the school’s commitment to equipping pharmacy students with the knowledge and adequate training to transition into healthcare professionals and clinical practitioners. Pointing to the students’ challenging years of study, he commended their resolve to overcome adversities and invited them to advocate for their profession.
“Since this ceremony was introduced as a standard practice for pharmacy schools in 1995, it has come to embody what we expect of our professionals in their journey to becoming pharmacists and building their professional identity,” added Dr. Alsharif.
The ceremony, which took place shortly after World Pharmacy Day on September 25 and preceded National Pharmacy Week in the US from October 16-22, featured a keynote address by Senior Associate Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Donald Klepser.
In his speech, Dr. Klepser underscored how the pharmacy profession has been witnessing – and will continue to witness – fast-paced changes. “Within the next three to four years of clinical education, you will have incredible opportunities to change what pharmacy will look like in the 20 years to come,” he told the students.
Giving the example of how the COVID-19 pandemic had transformed the profession overnight, Dr. Klepser noted that “as practices continue to evolve and change, so will the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist, and ethical practice will be at the core of your professional evolution to become great leaders within the profession.”
Pledging their commitment to the highest ethical standards, class speakers Lana Saliba and Ayah El Kurdi communicated their resolve to serve their profession on behalf of their peers.
“We are embracing a calling to care for others and safeguard their health,” said Saliba, promising “to put our patients first and strive for excellence in everything that we do.”
For El Kurdi, being a pharmacist is not limited to dispensing medication. “It is about the people behind the prescription who count on us for truthful information, compassion and a sense of hope.”
One by one, the students took to the stage to receive their white coats and sign the Pledge of Professionalism and the Oath of the Pharmacist. Donned in white, they recited the Pledge of Professionalism collectively, led by Clinical Assistant Professor Mira El Masri.