Forty-two students at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine officially transitioned into the clinical portion of their education in July. The annual Student Clinician’s Ceremony brought the students together with faculty members and residents to acknowledge successful completion of the first two years of the students’ classroom training as well as the significance of their upcoming clinical years.
The ceremony, titled, “Putting on Your Own White Coat,” is designed to provide guidance, information, and support by addressing some of the anxiety students may feel upon entering their clerkships. The ceremony also emphasizes the challenges and imperatives to providing humanistic care to patients.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Charles Schleupner, a professor of internal medicine at the school, delivered a healthy dose of wisdom he had gathered from medical colleagues and his own experiences as a physician. His insights included the following:
Seek the advice and accept the help of nurses. This is very important. Nurses are your partners.
Always recognize your strengths and shortcomings. Your patients can suffer if you’re not reflective.
Ask your patients to recount the history of their lives. This will make a huge difference in your relationships with your patients.
Consider stopping by your patients’ hospital room before you leave for the day. This is an important demonstration of caring both ‘for’ and ‘about’ your patients.
Reflect regularly. You will be a better person in life and a better physician to your patients if you are reflective.
Always act honorably on behalf of your patients.
It is vital to keep up with ever-expanding scientific knowledge. This will improve the care we render our patients.
Schleupner closed by reminding the students that a lifetime of interacting and caring for patients is a privileged opportunity.
The ceremony was supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.