Trinity School of Medicine Celebrates the May 2024 White Coat Ceremony

Trinity School of Medicine recently held its White Coat Ceremony for the May 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 Psychoeducational Support & Wellness Assistant Professor, Ms. La Ferne Fraser, accompanied by Dean and Provost Dr. John Geisler, University President Dr. Ward Ulmer, keynote speaker and Trinity graduate Dr. Katarzyna Jurecki, and the Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Her Excellency Dame Susan Dougan.

Dame Susan Dougan gave her official welcome as the Head of State. She shared a quote from Sir William Osler, highlighting the significance of becoming a physician.

“The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.”

White Coat Ceremony Speaker, Dr. Katarzyna Jurecki

Trinity was honored to have Dr. Katarzyna Jurecki as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Dr. Jurecki graduated from Trinity Medical Sciences University in 2013 and she is currently an Attending Physician at a private OB/GYN practice in Erie, Pennsylvania. Some students may recognize her as she served as a guest hooder at her brother’s commencement ceremony from Trinity in 2022. 

Dr. Jurecki congratulated every new matriculant on their acceptance to Trinity and reassured students that they were on the right path to becoming the physicians they wanted to be. Below are Dr. Jurecki’s sentiments about Trinity School of Medicine and a few tips for the new matriculants:

“Today, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and nostalgia. I am so thankful for taking my leap of faith with Trinity School of Medicine. Little did I know that Trinity would not only educate me but also shape the course of my career in ways I could have never imagined. I am a testament to the transformative power of this school. It gave me a chance to enter the field of medicine when others may not have, recognizing potential where others saw limitations. It nurtured my curiosity, fostered my growth, and instilled in me the values of compassion, resilience, and excellence. Medicine is an art, and Trinity not only taught me the fundamentals of medicine and how to practice but also how to be a compassionate physician.

As an OB/GYN physician today, I owe much of my success to the foundation laid on this island, where you are starting your journey today. The intimate learning environment, the personalized attention from faculty, and the tight-knit community of peers created an atmosphere conducive to learning and growing as a medical student. It taught me that size does not define quality, rather it is dedication, passion, and commitment of individuals that truly make a difference. 

I’m proud to say that I carry the spirit of Trinity with me every day as I care for women and their families. Whether it’s guiding expectant mothers through the journey of pregnancy, delivering babies to this world, operating on patients with complex GYN issues, or providing support through the most vulnerable moments, I am reminded of the lessons I learned here: To always approach medicine with humility, empathy, and a deep sense of responsibility; to remember that the ancient practice of medicine leans heavily on the fundamentals of listening, attending to patients, and seeing patients as a whole being, not just an organ system. 

As you start your journey today, the beginning of the rest of your life, take time to soak up every moment that you can remember. Your time on the island is limited. Work hard, play hard. Explore the beautiful natural unspoiled environment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. You will remember your time on the island fondly. The people, the memories, and the experiences–not many medical students can go for a quick swim in the ocean after completing an exam. Do not take this for granted. Your time at your local hospital, Milton Cato, will expose you to so many pathologies that you will never see again in the U.S. or Canada. Your hands-on experience, excellent preceptors, and exposure early on to clinical medicine is a true gem of Trinity–an experience that your peers at other schools will not have. Learning the art of taking a history and physical without the aid of computers or technology is priceless. Observing the humbling surroundings of the hospital, and helping patients who need it the most–these are the skills that you will learn alongside clinical medicine.

When the going gets tough, which it will, step outside and reflect on how fortunate you are. To be here, learning medicine, which is a privilege given to a select few. Volunteer when you can. Give back to this beautiful island, which will provide you with so much in return. As you stand here among your peers, your new family, which you will get to know very well over the next 16 months. As you move forward, remember your humble beginnings. Remember why you wanted to become a doctor. Let this undeniable pull to help others encourage you when your days seem endless or the workload piles up. Lean on the students who have come before you and don’t forget to have some fun along the way. Your time on the island will pass very quickly. Before you know it, you will be sitting for Step 1, moving back to the mainland for rotations, applying for residency, and ultimately, teaching the next generation of medical students. Every day is a lesson. Above all, keep an open mind and be an exceptional student. You have the tools to do so here. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life.”    

After donning the white coats, Dr. Kelly Manahan thanked everyone involved in making the ceremony possible and delivered closing remarks by congratulating the students and welcoming them to the Trinity family. 

Trinity School of Medicine students, faculty, and administration are excited to welcome this group of future physicians and look forward to supporting and being a part of every student’s medical journey towards achieving their dream.

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