Medical students embark on new chapter
It was a proud moment for 35 medical students on Saturday as they were finally able to don white coats and receive their stethoscopes, marking a new chapter in their medical journey.
The All Saints University held its second white coat ceremony for the year on Saturday, at its campus in Arnos Vale.
Dr Wisam Al-Hafidh, in his Dean’s address, told students that the white coat represents certain values that all doctors must embody.
“This white coat is about to change your life forever. Your life has never been as demanding as its about to become.
This is only the first step on a journey that would be exciting, sometimes frustrating, but it’s definitely the most fascinating journey you will ever have.
And I standing on behalf of this faculty today, welcome you on this journey,” he said.
The Dean said that participants’ learning and experience would combine in the years ahead, and he encouraged students to be courageous, bold, innovative and kind to their patients.
“Be kind to your patients, think about their comfort, be supportive and show your concern. Treat them the way that you would like to be treated,” Dr Al-Hafidh said.
“Be humble and remember that you are privileged to serve your patients and not the other way around.” As he mentioned the long hours associated with the medical profession, the Dean told students that their “mental and physical capacities will be stretched to the maximum.”
However, Dr Al-Hafidh urged students to always give their family the time they deserve as there is nothing more important.
Cecil McKie, the minister of tourism and representative for West St George, where the university is located, also gave brief remarks at the ceremony.
McKie noted that over 10 years ago, there was only one medical school in St Vincent.
Now, he said that there were four, catering to Vincentian and international students. “This is both a medical education and medical tourism moment in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.
“The school itself, they have been paying attention to ensure that the quality of education that is offered at All Saints remains very high and that when the students leave the institution, they can go anywhere in the world to practice medicine and this is very important.”
The tourism minister lauded international students for integrating themselves into the communities and activities in St Vincent.
He said that in doing so, they have earned the trust of the people of the country.
“When you receive your white coats today, you will probably be going into the most important phase of your journey along this medical line.
Your interaction with your clients and persons who require medical attention would bring out the true character that is necessary for you to make that determination for if you are at that place in your journey that you want to be,” McKie said.
“It gives you the opportunity at the same time to make the necessary adjustments, corrections that will make you an even better medical practitioner.”
Cuthbert Knights, permanent secretary in the ministry of health, delivered remarks on behalf of the health minister. Knights acknowledged the sacrifices that students have made to pursue medicine.
And he encouraged them to continue striving for success. “Your very presence here, your resolve shows that you can be anything that you choose to be and I know you will not allow anyone to tell you otherwise,” he said.
“All that you have done, all that you have sacrificed have brought you here and this is a moment for which you should be extremely proud.”
Two Vincentians, Danelle Stephens-Shallow and Shonette Small were among the batch of students receiving white coats on Saturday. Brief remarks were also delivered by Favour Nelson, the class representative and Dr Joshua Owolabi, a faculty representative.
Scholarship awards and Dean’s list presentations were also made at Saturday’s ceremony.