Physician assistant studies and physical therapy students celebrated milestones in the path to becoming healthcare professionals.
PCOM Georgia White Coat Ceremonies, milestones in the path toward becoming healthcare professionals, took place last week for the 30 members of the Master of Science in Health Sciences in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Class of 2021 and for the 33 members of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (PT) Class of 2021. These formal ceremonies, attended by family and friends, include the traditional donning of the white coat by the students which symbolizes their transition from the classroom toward a more clinical setting.
Held at the Infinite Energy Center on August 23, 2019, the PA class of 2021 heard from Anna McFather, MS/PA ’18, a graduate of the inaugural PCOM Georgia PA Studies class, who advised the students to “keep your heads up, work hard and take it day by day.” With a condensed schedule and a packed curriculum, she said students must use time management skills, while ensuring that they save time for family and friends.
James Becker, MS, HsA, PA-C, assistant professor and clinical studies coordinator, PA Studies, spoke about the students’ admission into the class, which had nearly 1,000 applicants for just 30 slots.
He noted their impressive experience in the healthcare field prior to submitting their applications. The class of 2021 had a grand total of 77,246 hours of health-related experience in a variety of areas including working as medical assistants, phlebotomists, pharmacy technicians, medical scribes and many others, before setting foot on PCOM Georgia’s campus.
He also lauded the class’ 16,891 hours of volunteerism, from delivering surgical supplies to rural hospitals in Nicaragua, to preparing and serving food for the homeless, and raising money for children with cancer. Class members also participated in leadership roles, research, international mission trips, NCAA collegiate athletics and the Armed Forces.
“You already have a little over twelve and a half years of making this world a better place,” said Becker. “I can’t wait to see what will happen with this group of already very successful individuals as they collectively tackle the next twelve and a half years.”
The PT students received their white coats in a ceremony held at the Peachtree Ridge High School Theater on August 24, 2019, which featured keynote speaker Daniel Dale, DPT, the president of the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia. He called on the second year students to hone the skills of grit, resiliency and trust as they prepare to enter the physical therapy profession.
He quoted Walt Disney— “The difference in winning and losing is most often not quitting,”—and Nelson Mandela, who said, “Do not judge me by my success; judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
Dr. Dale urged the students to keep three simple tools nearby – their hands, head and heart – to help them “carry out a successful career every single day.” He added, “It is only when you allow your heart to guide the work of your head and your hands that you will truly come to realize your ultimate potential.”
The Physician Assistant Studies students recited the Pledge of Professionalism in unison, while the Physical Therapy students signed the Physical Therapy Code of Ethics. Following the ceremony, photo-taking commenced as the PCOM Georgia students proudly wore their white coats.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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