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School of Medicine White Coat ceremony embraces first-years into the fold
2016-03-17

Description: School of Medicine White Coat ceremony  Tags: School of Medicine White Coat ceremony

From the left are first-year UFS medical students Liandri Van Zyl, Lane Halberg, Wisani Baloyi, and Neve Steenbeek at the annual White Coat ceremony, wearing their white coats for the first time.

“Life isn’t about yourself. It’s about what you can pour into the lives of others.” The first-year medical students will not soon forget Dr Lynette van der Merwe’s words during their recent White Coat ceremony. Dr Van der Merwe is the Programme Director of the MBChB undergraduate program at the University of the Free State (UFS) School of Medicine.

The annual White Coat ceremony is a tradition at the school to welcome first-year students to the world of medicine. As an official initiation into this new world, students are allowed to put on their white coats for the first time. During the ceremony, representatives from the Medical Students Association contributed to the significance of the event by reading a declaration of intent regarding professional behaviour for all medical students.

Dr Wayne Marais, Head of the UFS Department of Ophthalmology, was the guest speaker, sharing his vivid memories of being the first black student to study Medicine at the UFS in 1987. Prof Marais encouraged students to embrace their failures and successes, and to ultimately stay true to themselves – both personally and professionally.

Second-year medical students were at hand to offer advice and support. In addition to offering encouragement, they also assured the newcomers that there is a life outside of their books as well.

The entire ceremony not only served to welcome the first-years into the fold, but also unite them in a common purpose towards helping others in future.

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