On Friday…a new class of OHSU student/physicians will “suit up” during the School of Medicine’s annual White Coat Ceremony.
Here’s a press release to explain what will happen.
For those who are unfamiliar with the ceremony, it’s a relatively new tradition…with somewhat of an older history.
In 1999, the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote an interesting article about the evolution of the white coat. Here’s a link.
I found this bit particularly interesting:
Earlier in the history of medicine, clerical caretakers in hospitals donned black robes. The severe tone of these robes conveyed a sense of mourning and approaching death, sadly appropriate for the inevitable fate of those brought to the hospital in critical condition. With advances in medical care in the 20th century, however, hospitals were no longer regarded as houses for dying, but institutions of healing. The white uniforms of physicians symbolized this new hope in medicine.
Another interesting thing about the physician’s coat is the length: Varying lengths correspond to a physicians level of training. But beware…there is no official standard amongst medical schools.
More here from the Boston Globe:
Residents generally wear short coats at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, but knee-length coats at Tufts-New England Medical Center. Even at these hospitals, however, some residents have started wearing scrubs, the loose-fitting, pajama-like outfits once used mostly by surgeons, rather than coats. Most senior doctors, called attending physicians, wear long coats, except at Massachusetts General Hospital. There, the strong tradition for doctors is short coats just like those worn by medical students; older physicians theorize that this unusual formulation was adopted to symbolize that Mass. General doctors are learners for life. The eminent institution buys nearly 9,000 white coats a year.
Here’s a link to the full article.
As for OHSU’s 2015 class, here are some of the new faces (that correspond to the students featured in our press release here.)