Today was my white coat ceremony at Temple University School of Pharmacy. So I figured what better topic to talk about beside the topic we talked about all day at school. Quick summary of events: we sat, some speeches, we went on stage, we were cloaked, we recited an oath to uphold pharmacy ethics, a few more speeches, a reception, and some smoozing with pharmacy representatives.
Well I decided to look up the evolution of the white coat. According to an article in the Journal of American Medical Association:
“In the middle of the 19th century, science had damaged the respectability of medicine by demonstrating that its cures were worthless, thus relegating much of medicine to the realm of quackery and healing cults. While scientists were admired, physicians were distrusted.”
The medical profession turned to science. After all, it was thought, the laboratories whose inventions could transmit messages instantaneously and had revolutionized transportation, could certainly provide breakthrough advances in curing disease.1 Physicians, seeking to represent themselves as scientists, thus adopted the scientific lab coat as their standard of dress.”
Wherever the origin, white coats have long been associated with medicine and science. As such many health related fields where them, and society generally recognize the white coat wearers as specialists in some area of health care. The significance and responsibility that comes with that recognition was the focus of our ceremony. Some argue such ceremonies are self serving and elitist, I felt that Temple’s ceremony was low key and very nice.
Plus I look super-duper cute in my coat.