Current 3rd Med student Chloe Murphy takes a closer look at the medicine White Coat Ceremony and explains how it marks an important milestone in medicine students training in UCD

It’s that time of year again, when all the medical and veterinary students can be found wandering around O’Reilly Hall posing in their dazzling new white coats – but what exactly is this ceremony?

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The White Coat Ceremony marks the transition from pre-clinical to clinical training. Having endured several long years of university, and with many more yet to come, this ceremony is a small act of recognition – you’re getting there, keep going, just a little bit further. After almost 4 years in college, most students would be graduating by now – instead, we have this celebratory event for making it this far!

 

Though we’ve had lectures together for the past few months, the undergrads and graduate entry students have more than less kept to themselves thus far. This is our first major event together, and it’s super encouraging to see everyone mingling and chatting to each other – we’ll be spending the next 2 years together, so this is a great chance to start getting to know our future classmates!

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The ceremony is short and sweet – we each go up to the stage in groups of 10, where members of the academic staff help us into our new white coats. There’s photos and clapping, then it’s off the stage to make way for the next group. There’s well over 200 people, but it feels like no time before we’ve all gone up and are now sitting in our dazzling whites! A few quick speeches by members of academic staff, and it’s off for light refreshments, and of course, more photos!

 

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After the ceremony, everyone retreats to spend some time with their families. Some families have traveled huge distances, with many coming from North America specially for the occasion, and in some instances it’s the first time these families have visited Ireland! Mother, fathers, siblings, grandparents – all come to celebrate this day with us. Now that there’s no need to worry about fitting into the dress anymore, we all head off for a well deserved dinner with the family!

Of course, all good occasions end in a night out – and given this is a big day, we’re headed to somewhere with a bit more class than the usual Coppers or D2! People arrive in Cafe en Seine in dribs and drabs. The place is huge, so there’s no trouble fitting the two hundred or so people. There’s chats with old friends, new friends – everyone is in high spirits and keen to get to know each other. After all, we’ll be spending the next two and a half years together in hospitals, so it’s a great chance to meet our new classmates!

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You can see more photos from this years Medicine White Coat Ceremony here.

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