Trinity School of Medicine recently held its White Coat Ceremony for the January 2024 starting class. The new matriculates, parents, relatives, friends, and other well-wishers, gathered to celebrate this important day at the Trinity School of Medicine campus in St. Vincent. Presiding over the event was Trinity’s Associate Dean of Basic Sciences, Dr. Naga Dharshan Devendra, with guest speakers Dean and Provost Dr. John Geisler, Associate Dean of Clinical Sciences and Curriculum Dr. Kelly Manahan, keynote speaker and Trinity graduate Dr. Heather Dill, and the Chief Technical Officer of the Ministry of Education Mr. Dixon Findlay.
Dr. Geisler imparted the significance of the white coat ceremony and how important it is to train compassionate and caring physicians from the beginning.
“Being a physician is fundamentally about serving others with humility and compassion.”
We were honored to have Dr. Heather Dill as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Dr. Dill is not only an accomplished alumna of Trinity School of Medicine but also a devoted mother of eight children. Before attending Trinity, Dr. Dill began her career in emergency medical services in 2002 when she started as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), she quickly advanced to the role of Paramedic Supervisor in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was at this time she decided to take her medical career to the next level by attending Trinity and becoming a doctor.
Dr. Dill has recently embarked on an exciting new professional journey in Washington State, where she specializes in Family Medicine Obstetrics. Notably, her expertise extends to surgical procedures. Her commitment to delivering exceptional healthcare is an inspiration to us all.
Dr. Dill continued the white coat ceremony by imparting her own words of wisdom. She congratulated every new student on their acceptance to Trinity and reassured students that they were on the right path to becoming the physicians they wanted to be. After reminiscing about her medical journey, Dr. Dill gave the students some pieces of advice to take throughout their journeys:
- It takes a village to get through medical school. During your journey, it is important for you to find a group of people who will share similar ideals, goals, and backgrounds. You need people who are experiencing med school with you, who can understand the stresses of the ups and downs that medical school inevitably has for you. There are going to be days when you question your ability to push on and this group that you create now can help encourage and support you through those rough days. It’s okay to cry, regardless of the reason. Medical school is hard, it will test everything you have including your relationships.
- Keep school and home separate as much as possible. For this, I created a schedule that I had to stick to. I recognized that I had responsibilities as a mother, a wife, a student, and a church member, all of which required attention from me to varying degrees. To ensure that each of these areas was given the appropriate attention, I put together a calendar with detailed timelines. This ensured that I stayed on task. If you stick to whatever schedule works best for you and your individual circumstances, your scores will show your dedication and success will follow. There will inevitably be a lot of hiccups, but there will be opportunities for you to adjust your course as well. It is when people put things on hold that progression can’t happen and fear takes over.
- What works for one person may not work for another. I recommend finding a resource that works for you and sticking with it. You can mix it up for different subjects if you must, but like said previously, I would only do up to three. Repetition is key. Medicine is life-long learning, it is like a living, breathing body of knowledge that is always going to change. You need to be able to continue to learn and adapt. Learning and retaining enough to pass the test will only get you so far, you must learn to retain long-term. This requires constant review of old and new material.
- Document your history. Get a journal, a diary, a recorder, a YouTube channel, TikTok, or whatever you want, and record your journey. At the beginning of your documentation, I want you to answer the question: Why medicine? Why is this important to you? If you can answer the question “Why?” then as you inevitably are faced with those challenging moments you can look back and remember why you were doing this and why it’s important for you to keep going, knowing that you’re doing it for your reasons. Encourage your future selves, and give tips for when you’re stressed, overwhelmed, and wanting to quit. Only you know what works for you. If it’s a song, a phrase, a picture, whatever it may be, you need to post it somewhere, someplace where you can see it every day.
In closing, Dr. Dill left the students with the last piece of advice and perhaps the most important:
There is something just as important or more important than the friends that you make or the resources that you use, it is your attitude. One thing I noticed was that people who had a positive attitude did much better academically and personally than those who didn’t. With a positive attitude, you will be able to bear the challenges ahead. Choose to find the good, look for opportunities to grow, and embrace this moment that you’re in. Try not to rush to the finish line, the finish line is going to come, but take the time to focus on what you’re doing right now. Recognize that this is a blimp on time and find joy in each moment. Your attitude will determine what experiences you will have as well as determine your future successes. Be positive. You have a choice right now at the beginning of your journey. What kind of experiences do you want? What kind of environment are you going to create for yourself? Not only to succeed, but to succeed with grace, vigor, and perseverance, with a head held high knowing that you did everything you could to push forward and you gave it your all.
After the donning of the white coat, Dr. Kelly Manahan closed the ceremony by congratulating the students and welcoming them to the Trinity family.
As a university, we are excited to welcome this group of future physicians and look forward to supporting and being a part of every student’s medical journey.