UCD Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony! (Photo credit to Aidan Kelly)

This week, fourth-year veterinary medicine student, Evie, talks about the transition from the pre-clinical aspects of veterinary medicine to the clinical years, including celebrating this passage with the White Coat Ceremony…….

The veterinary medicine course in University College Dublin is seen, to the much of the general population, as very much a case of being in it for the long haul. The past four years, however, really have flown past!

This trimester (running from mid-January to the end of April) makes up the final leg of our teaching labs and lectures in the veterinary medicine course. After exams, from June onwards, many of us will begin our clinical rotations in the adjoining UCD Veterinary Hospital. Everyone has a slightly different timetable, starting rotations at different times, so it will be a big change for us after four years of being in a classroom/lab together for most of our college time!


The UCD Veterinary White Coat Ceremony

To mark our transition from the classroom into the clinical and consulting rooms in UCD Vet Hospital, we celebrate with the White Coat Ceremony. During this event, each of us students received a white coat with the official UCD crest and our names embroidered on them. We will then wear these white coats for many of our rotations in the small animal hospital, helping to identify us as students to the vets and vet nurses in the hospital. The white coats also have the added benefit of having many pockets for stashing away much-needed snacks to keep us fuelled during long hours in the hospital!

The White Coat Ceremony was a really lovely event this year, and we were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather, making our many photos outside O’Reilly Hall afterwards all the more fabulous, with the resident family of swans and ducks in the main UCD lake even coming out to greet us during the festivities.

Our wonderful Student Advisor was the Master of Ceremonies for the event and, with her usual talent for detail, got the pronunciation of each and every person’s name correct as they walked up to receive their white coat (she had been practising in the week coming up to the ceremony!). We were then “coated” by one of four of our key lecturers from the past four years before all collecting for a group class photo, made possible by one of our classmate’s drone!


Bella out and about for her White Coat Ceremony day out!  


This year was the first year that the third year Vet Nursing students were also receiving white coats, and it was a great opportunity to mix and mingle before we start rotations together in the hospital later in the year. After going for a lovely meal with our families, it was into town to continue the celebrations.

The White Coat Ceremony has been one of the best events I have attended as part of our degree in UCD, organised by a tireless committee of students, and would not have been possible without the continued support of the UCD veterinary programme office, so much thanks to both parties for their efforts!

Clinical Veterinary Placement

The Friday of the White Coat Ceremony also marked the beginning of our midterm break. These two weeks off from lectures and labs gives a chance to relax for a few days, and also catch up on some clinical placement. In the clinical years of the UCD veterinary medicine course, there is a requirement to complete 24 weeks of CEMS (Clinical Extra-Mural Studies) between Christmas of our third year and before graduation in our final year. With this placement, and studying for our Musculoskeletal exam set for the week we returned from Midterm break, it was a busy couple of weeks!


Bella realising studying for Musculoskeletal exams might not be her thing, and she would rather be sleeping

As part of the UCD veterinary medicine curriculum, we see placement in a variety of veterinary practices, including those which cater exclusively for one animal species (eg practices whos vets do solely equine work), specialism practices (eg a cardiology specialist practice) and also in mixed veterinary practices. This variety is with the aim of ensuring that when we qualify from the School of Veterinary Medicine, we have lots of experience working with lots of different animals and in different areas of the discipline. Thus, this placement also has the advantage of giving us the opportunity to see what areas of veterinary we ourselves might be most passionate about working in when we graduate.


For this midterm break placement, I went to my local mixed practice, where I got to see lots of consults, farm vet calls, and practice basic clinical skills -such as giving vaccinations and suturing, all under the careful supervision of the qualified vets and vet nurses in the practice.


These clinical placements give a great chance to put into practice what we have learned in lectures and practicals throughout the veterinary medicine course, all the time building on our First Day Competencies, something which is of key interest to future employers when we fly the UCD veterinary medicine nest!


For more information on studying Veterinary Medicine in UCD, check out myUCD.

Why not come on a campus tour of UCD and check out the Veterinary Sciences Centre for yourself – just book in here.