During the second week of September 2022, MEDEX faculty, staff and students observed Transition Week across all its five campuses. At the heart of Transition Week, as the name suggests, is the transition of MEDEX students out of their didactic year and into their clinical year. That is, students are moving from the MEDEX classroom and its dense didactic curriculum, into the hospitals, clinics and healthcare facilities throughout the region for their four-month primary care preceptorship and a series of one-month rotations or clerkships in specialty practices. The students participate in variety of hands-on learning activities and lectures designed to prepare them for their clinical experiences. An additional component of this transition into the clinical year is the White Coat Ceremony: a gathering of students, faculty and often family members, at which students are ritualistically presented with their signature white coats by members of their faculty.
“White coats are a symbol of clinical medicine, of practice. The students have learned a lot over the past year. But now, the rubber is meeting the road. They’re going to put on those white coats and begin to see patients. We really want to emphasize what that transition means through the symbolism of the white coat, representing the weight of responsibility. They need to understand not only what putting on the white coat means to them, but also what it means to their patients, the impact it has on patients when they see a provider in that white coat come walking through the door.”
Theo Orchard, MHS, PA-C, MEDEX Faculty, MEDEX Spokane Campus Coordinator
“You wear the white coat, the white coat doesn’t wear you. The white coat brings privilege and responsibility. It denotes that you are a professional and grants you authority you have a special knowledge that most people aren’t privy to. The white coat tells people that you are someone who can be trusted to keep their best interests in mind. You can never betray that trust. But white coat or not, we want to meet our patients where they are. We are all striving toward health equity in medicine. So don’t let the white coat transform you. You want to be the one who transforms medicine.”
Daytheon Sturges, Ph.D., MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, CAHIMS, CHES®, MEDEX Faculty, Associate Program Director of Regional Affairs, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
“You’re now going back out to take care of people. And they are people that other people love. These are people’s grandmas and grandpas and sisters and brothers and friends and moms and dads and kids. So approach them as you would want others to approach your own family. Say to them ‘I’m going to work hard for you, I’m going to be curious for you, I’m going to ask questions for you.’ It’s a privilege.” Jess Butler, MCHS, PA-C, former MEDEX Faculty
“This transition is about recognizing your hard work. All the dedication, all the effort, all the long hours, everything you have done to get to this point. I told you back in the dark days of February that it was going to be hard, and it was. And I told you it was going to get better, and … well, it’s going to! Starting right after this! You have put in the work, and you deserve to enjoy every bit of what’s next. ‘You’re off to great places,’ writes Dr. Suess, ‘you’re off and away, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.’ I am so excited for you.” Tara Hook, MMS, PA-C, former MEDEX Faculty