White Coats and Stethoscopes
Students of the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine mark their transition to clinical learning and prepare for a profession of selfless responsibilities.
On June 9, 2023, the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine hosted its 12th White Coat Ceremony marking the transition of 63 medical students from pre-clinical to clinical training.
The students received their white coats on the Byblos campus in the presence of their parents and families, LAU President Michel E. Mawad, Provost George E. Nasr, former LAU Trustee Mona Nehmé, Sister Mona Nassar, Vice President for Health Affairs Tony Zreik, school Dean Sola Aoun Bahous, Dean of the School of Pharmacy Naser Alsharif, the LAU Medical Center-Saint John’s Hospital’s CMO Wadih Ghaname and LAU Medical Center-Rizk Hospital’s Assistant CMO Daniel Mahfoud, as well as dedicated faculty and staff members.
On the significance of donning the white coat, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Student Affairs Nancy Chedid, who emceed the event, said that within this “deceptively simple and ordinary gesture lies the tradition, glory and mystery of the transformation of becoming the caregivers of patients with various responsibilities and challenges.”
The rite of passage was a crucial watershed in the students’ journeys toward becoming established physicians where the theoretical knowledge they have acquired thus far will come alive in their encounters with diseases and infirmities, said Dr. Mawad.
“The next two years will be a period of intense learning, spectacular discoveries, tremendous maturity and the emergence of your own distinct professional identity,” he said.
As a distinguished neuroradiologist himself, Dr. Mawad imparted his experience to the medical students in caring for patients as they move on to the next phase where both excitement and challenges await.
Foremost among these challenges, he said, is “experiencing first-hand the ethics of the medical profession, the cardinal importance of bedside manners, of asking the right questions and following the steps leading to a diagnosis, building trust and rapport between physician and patient and so many other intangibles that are so important for the final outcome.”
The art of medicine goes above and beyond the confines of textbooks, remarked Dean Bahous. “It breathes and lives within the patients you will encounter,” she told the students. “Each patient brings a unique story, a complex set of circumstances and a range of emotions. As physicians, it is your duty to understand their fears, hopes and dreams and to provide compassionate care in their time of need.”
The ceremony, she said, not only signifies the students’ dedication to the noble field of medicine but also serves as a celebration of stepping into a realm abundant with advancements in medical technology and continuously expanding boundaries of scientific exploration.
“I would like you to consider three important actions: Connect, Advocate, and Listen, remembered by the acronym CAL,” she said. “I urge you to embrace every opportunity to connect with your patients … represent your commitment to serve as advocates for their well-being … [and] never forget the power of listening.”
Keynote speaker and alumnus Jad Al Danaf (MD ’13) expressed his honor and joy in celebrating such a milestone with the medical students.
“I’m very proud to be part of this established school, and please take advantage of every single opportunity that crosses your medical education. Be hungry, be thirsty to learn more, go out and explore throughout your medical journey. Nurture your curiosity and emotional intelligence and allow yourself to grow into this model of humility,” said Dr. Al Danaf.
Considering the vast and rapid advancements in the field, he advised the students “to balance scientific knowledge with your empathy and learn how to put it into practice. Rest assured, my friends, that with your commitment and devotion, you will make a big difference in someone’s life.”
As each student walked up the stage to be cloaked in their white coat with humility, compassion and integrity, they took their first step into a demanding world where ethical standards cannot be compromised.
Once clad in pristine coats and stethoscopes, they were reminded nonetheless that they were well-prepared.