During the 2013 student clinician’s ceremony at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, students learned life lessons about listening, trust, and humility. Dr. Donald Steinweg, an associate professor in the school’s Department of Internal Medicine, delivered his keynote address in the spirit of encouragement for the 41 third-year students who were embarking on the clinical rotations phase of their education.
“Wake up each day with the attitude that you were born into this occupation as a servant, not a king or a queen, but a servant,” Steinweg said. “Medicine is not about me or you. Medicine is always about the patient.”
Clinical rotations mark students’ transition from classroom to the medical setting. They begin seeing patients alongside doctors and residents as they gain experience in primary care and medical and surgical specialties.
During the ceremony, faculty and students were recognized with Humanism and Excellence Awards, Years 1 and 2 Teaching Awards, and Letters of Distinction in each of the school’s four domains: basic science, clinical science, research, and interprofessionalsim. In addition, students were called to the front of the auditorium individually where they ceremoniously donned their own white coat. This is in contrast to the White Coat Ceremony held in the fall of students’ first year during which each student is assisted by a faculty mentor in putting on their white coat. The action is symbolic of the faculty mentor’s role in assisting the student during the preclinical years.
"There is nothing that amazes me more than the way patients come to trust their caregivers," Steinweg told the students. "Once you put your white coat on, you really never take it off. Your patients will have high expectations of you wherever you are seen."
Written by Catherine Doss