McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Donning of their white coats of special significance for new McMaster University medical students

Published: September 25, 2003

McMaster University first-year medical students, together with their family and friends, celebrated the donning of their white clerk’s jackets at an inaugural ceremony last evening at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

The white coat symbolizes the undertaking of clinical learning, a time in which medical students interact with patients. The event has been instituted as a ceremonial marker; the student physicians are recognizing their privilege and responsibility for patient health.

"Tonight we are celebrating a beginning", said Dr. Peter George, president and vice-chancellor, McMaster University. "It’s a rare opportunity at a 116-year-old institution to be present at the establishment of a new tradition, the white coat ceremony, the first of what will be an annual and truly memorable event for our students."

As the third largest medical school in Canada, McMaster receives more applications than any other medical school in Ontario, with 28 applications to each accepted student. There are 139 medical students in the Class of 2006, the largest class since the medical school’s inception in 1966.

"Each of our new medical students already have so much to be proud of, and this is just the beginning," said Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice-president health sciences.

"Between now and the time they take the Hippocratic oath, they have a wonderful opportunity to develop the empathy and compassion that will allow them to uphold the values inherent in medical practice. Being able to help people will be the most important and rewarding aspect of their medical career."

McMaster University is renowned for its innovative curriculum and problem-based learning (PBL), which has been adopted by many other medical schools.

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