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Don’t risk your careers on silly decisions – GG

Don’t risk your careers on silly decisions – GG

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The twenty-nine students who make up the Class of 2018 of the Trinity School of Medicine have been warned not to risk their careers on silly decisions.{{more}}

Speaking at a White Coat Ceremony, which took place last Saturday at the school at Ratho Mill, Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, while welcoming the students to the country, cautioned that marijuana is illegal here, and if found guilty of possessing it, they would be arrested. He advised that they do not risk their entire careers on “silly decisions,” as he believed that God had chosen each of them for the “noble profession” of medicine.

Sir Frederick gave the students other simple guidelines to follow while in the country that will be their home for the next two years. “We are very hospitable, very friendly. There is not another people that is more hospitable and friendly anywhere else in the world,” he said.

He explained that medical education is very expensive, but that there is also a cost to his country. “All our medical facilities run into hundreds of millions of dollars, and we put all of these at your disposal,” he said.

Dean of the school Dr Douglas Skelton informed the eager students that the White Coat Ceremony is always a very important event in the life of any doctor. “When I put a white coat on a student,” he said, “I always remember that young lady 30 years ago, on whom I put a white coat and who has hung in there and today, now looks after my mother.”

He congratulated the prospective doctors with the quip:“That gives me the assurance that one of you will hang around to look after me!”

President and CEO of Trinity Steve Wilson followed these words with his own words of welcome. He warmly engaged the students, telling them that they were a small, but good-looking class, and although everything was new at that stage, there was no need to be nervous. CEO Wilson then introduced a video in which graduating students of Class of 2013 gave words of advice to new students on issues, including the importance of the White Coat Ceremony; coping mechanisms and study tips; opportunities for volunteering that would enhance the quality of residency; preparation for residency; pathways for future careers; and of course, enjoying the island experience and the beauty of the people of SVG.

Dr Paula Wilson gave a brief outline of the origins of the white coats and why it is a symbol of the medical profession. “The first White Coat Ceremony,” she said, “took place on August 20th, 1992.” Dr Arnold Gold had come up with the idea, to make medical students aware of their responsibilities, not only as academics but also as humanitarians. Today, one hundred and thirty schools around the world hold such ceremonies. “It is like a rite of passage,” Dr Reynolds said, “and robing you with white coats is a symbol of Trinity’s faith in you all.”

Dr Joseph Wilson, associate dean of Clerkships, in making a point for the transformative effect of the white coat, recalled how an old janitor called him “Sir” one night as he walked out of a hospital after a hard day’s work. “It transformed me!” he stated. He also touched on their impending journey. “You guys got here because of sacrifice, love and hope. It is not only about you, but also, you will not be alone. You have a team at school working with you. You are at the base camp right now. The mountains are waiting and the climb is hard. Every step of that climb is yours to make.”

It was at this point that the 29 students arose from their seats, White Coats strategically placed over the right arm, and walked towards Dr Andreas Reymann, senior associate dean, Academic Affairs and Evaluation and dean Dr Douglas Skelton to be robed. Each was additionally welcomed into the new profession with a handshake from Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, himself a medical doctor.

The ceremony was closed by dean Skelton and a reception followed at the Paradise Beach Hotel, at which students were given the opportunity to meet faculty members, relatives, friends and other well-wishers. The students’ first term began on Monday, May 12.

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