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The Cloak of Compassion: White Coat Ceremony Inducts First Class of Future Medical Professionals

September 11, 2019

The first day of school is exciting for everyone; but possibly none more so than for the very first class of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at Khalifa University. The brand new Department of Medicine marked the entrance of the first cohort of students into the medical profession with a White Coat Ceremony held in the Main Campus Auditorium on Tuesday September 10.

A relatively new, but no less momentous ritual, the white coat ceremony is a rite of passage in the journey toward a healthcare career and involves a formal “coating” of students, where each future medical professional receives their white coat.

In the nineteenth century, respect for the certainty of science was in stark contrast to the quackery and mysticism that plagued medicine at the time and to emphasize the transition to the more scientific approach to modern medicine, physicians rejected the black overcoat of yesteryear for the most recognizable symbol of the scientist—the white lab coat.


Before even their first class, students are initiated into the medical profession with the commitment to what their white coat represents: becoming (and staying) proficient in the science and technique of medicine and to the human obligations of being a doctor.

The white coat reminds students of their professional duties by being easily recognizable and a repository for information. Pockets hold reference cards and penlights, reflex hammers and notebooks; the neck is adorned by a stethoscope. Above all, the coat is a cloak of compassion.

Donning the white coat is a promise to pursue medical education diligently and to embody all the vital attributes of a good doctor: compassion, honesty, tolerance and respect. It’s a promise to always strive to be worthy of the privilege of being a doctor and a warm welcome to a profession of status and importance.

Jade Sterling
News and Features Writer
10 September 2019