Physician Assistant program conducts first White Coat Ceremony

Students in the MMS-Physician Assistant program read the P.A. Professional Oath during the program's first White Coat Ceremony on April 11.
Students in the MMS-Physician Assistant program read the P.A. Professional Oath during the program’s first White Coat Ceremony on April 11.

Fourteen physician assistant students who are preparing to begin their clinical rotations participated in the School of Medicine’s first Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant White Coat Ceremony on April 11 at the UMKC Student Union Theater.

The ceremony takes place at the beginning of the students’ fifth semester of the seven-semester program to signify their transition from the classroom to the clinical phase of training. After hearing welcoming and encouraging remarks from Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., program director, Beverly Graves, M.D., program medical director, and Irv Stickney, P.A.-C., a member of the advisory board, students recited the Physician Assistant Professional Oath as a pledge to the health and safety of their patients and to maintain a professional code of ethics.

The white coat is a mantle of the medical profession, and the White Coat Ceremony occurs with students having the coat placed on their shoulders by individuals who believe in their ability to contribute to the traditions of the medical profession. The ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care and expertise in the science of medicine.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation initiated the White Coat Ceremony to welcome students into the medical profession and set expectations for their role as health care providers by having them read their professional oath. Today, 97 percent of the AAMC-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, and osteopathic schools of medicine conduct a White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation partnered with the Physician Assistant Education Association to provide funding to establish White Coat Ceremonies for PA programs at the end of 2013.

The School of Medicine first began a White Coat Ceremony for students entering the B.A./M.D. program. In 2003, the School transitioned the ceremony to a program for Year 3 students as they advanced to Hospital Hill and joined their Years 3-6 docent units for the beginning of their clinical rotations.

Ervie said the White Coat Ceremony for PA students was modeled after the school’s ceremony for medical students.