White Coat Ceremony Marks Important Milestone for Physician Assistant Class
Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations
May 1, 2023 — Members of Marist’s Physician Assistant Program along with friends and family gathered in the Nelly Goletti Theatre on Friday, April 28 for the 7th annual White Coat Ceremony, which marks the mid-point in students’ journey toward becoming Physician Assistants.
The group of 52 students donned the short white coats that they will wear throughout their time in clinical rotations. The white coat symbolizes medicine’s historic transition from an era of magic and superstition to the science-based practice that it became.
After receiving their coats, the group assembled to take the Physician Assistant Professional Oath, which begins with the pledge to “hold as my primary responsibility the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings.”
Marist President Kevin Weinman congratulated the class on this significant milestone as they prepare to transition from classroom instruction to their clinical rotations.
“I admire your commitment to the healthcare profession and your dedication to becoming a Physician Assistant. I know getting here has not been easy,” said Weinman. “As you get ready for your rotations, you’re moving into what I imagine is one of the most exciting parts of our PA program – and that’s experiential learning. This is what distinguishes a Marist education from others, at all levels."
Many new PA students have professional experience in the healthcare field and students come from points around the country.
“The white coat ceremony is not only a tradition but also a pivotal moment in the journey of these students,” said Jeff Midgley PA Program Director at Marist. “As they put on their coats, they not only assume the role of lifelong learners but also commit to a career of compassionate care and service.”
Medical Director of Marist’s PA Program, Dr. Stephen Katz, described the rich history and significance of the white coat and also mapped out the road ahead for students.
“Over this next year, you will coalesce the medical knowledge you have learned and will continue to learn with the ethics and tenets of your profession,” said Dr. Katz. “You will learn to provide exceptional care to your patients. By the end of your Marist PA student days, you will have earned the right to have worn the long white coat of a physician assistant associate, and more important you will have also have earned the respect of your patients and colleagues.”
Within the School of Science, the PA Program is a full-time, 24-month, 90-credit program designed to prepare students for the Physician Assistant National Certification Examination (PANCE) and a successful career as a physician assistant. Students in the program learn how to care for patients in a variety of settings, and admission to the program is highly competitive. On average, about 1,200 applications are received each admissions cycle for the roughly 60 spots available for each entering class. Students are taught by experienced industry professionals while training in state-of-the-art facilities and participating in real-world clinical rotations.
Graduates go on to pursue careers in surgery or surgical specialties, emergency and urgent care medicine, orthopedics, or critical care.