BUIES CREEK - Upon receiving new white coats, students enrolled in Campbell University’s Master of Physician Assistant Practice program officially began their latest journey in health care education on Aug. 21, in the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center. Thirty-four physician assistant students joined 108 future pharmacists in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ annual White Coat Ceremony.
Dr. Ronald Maddox, dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, challenged students to live up to the expectations of professionalism that come with the white coat, a symbol of their entry into the health care profession.
“Professionals don’t just work to earn a paycheck – you are the guardians of the sick,” said Maddox. “As students, to be considered health care professionals, you must apply yourself to your work, take your studies seriously, learn to manage your time, develop communication skills, interact with one another and always strive to do your best.”
The ceremony was an important reminder to students of the expectations that come with their profession.
"For me it was an honor to receive a white-coat as a pharmacy student. It symbolizes the beginning of my professional career as a future pharmacist, and it reminds me of my commitment to serve others with honor, integrity, and compassion," said first year pharmacy student Yazmin Maya-Perez.
"When I received my white coat, I felt privileged and honored to represent Campbell University's PA school," said first year physician assistant student Danielle Beneville. "It is essential to maintain a level of professionalism in the workplace, especially working with, treating and caring for patients."
Jennifer Fowler, also a physician assistant student, noted that the white coat is a symbol of responsibility. "The white coat will be a reminder to me during clinical rotations to appreciate both the privilege and responsibility that go along with it," Fowler said.
As the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences celebrates 25 years of educating health care professionals, students say the white coat is a source of pride in the Campbell tradition.
"The white coats we received represent more than just an indicator that you are a pharmacist, or pharmacy student," said pharmacy student Eric Carter. "There are 25 years of history in that white coat that makes me proud to wear it. With that kind of history and backing, you feel empowered and automatically respected when people see you wear it."
The Master of Physician Assistant Practice program is new to Campbell this fall, with the charter class of students beginning classes on Monday, Aug. 22. The 28 month program will focus on teaching evidence-based medicine, training students to research and interpret medical literature and put the best evidence into practice for their patients. During the first 13 months in the classroom, lectures will be interspersed with clinical critical reasoning exercises aimed at teaching students how to analyze patients’ conditions.
About Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences: Campbell University began addressing health care issues in 1985 with the establishment of the nationally acclaimed School of Pharmacy, which was the first new pharmacy program founded in the United States in more than 35 years. In 2009, the institution’s name was formally changed to the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences to provide additional health science programs. In addition to the doctor of pharmacy program, the College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in clinical research and pharmaceutical sciences and a professional degree in physician assistant studies.
PHOTO: Tom Colletti, director of the Master of Physician Assistant Practice program, helps student Michael Albright put on his white coat.