At Trinity School of Medicine’s recent White Coat Ceremony, four Vincentian students were given special recognition as they prepare to graduate and begin their residencies at medical institutions in the U.S. The students included Dr. Shania Leslie who will pursue Pediatrics at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey; Dr. Geran Maule, Internal Medicine at the University of Central Florida; Dr. Carmold Murray, Internal Medicine at Creighton University in Arizona; and Dr. John Rickards, Internal Medicine at Mercer School of Medicine, Georgia. The four soon-to-be-graduates were each presented with a special certificate with the inscription, “A future guided by faith”, inspired by a line from the National Anthem of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “What e’er the future brings, our faith will see us through”.
Dr. John Rickards spoke about how the Vincentian community shaped his and his colleagues’ success in medical school, saying “that close-knit nature is what made us excel as physicians now but also in medical school. …. it was just easy to network and make connections not only with our patients but other people in the medical community.”
Dr. Shania Leslie from the island of Bequia, credited her current disposition to early life lessons – the connecting belief that everyone is family whether related or not and should be treated with a high level of respect and compassion. “Forming these types of bonds with patients,” she was convinced, “makes caring for them much easier, as they know they can trust you as their physician.”
Dr. Geran Maule recalled his experience in the U.S., saying “we stood out most notably by our accent, which everyone liked. This always led us to explain where St. Vincent was, followed by conversations of agriculture, fishing and other kinds of things like how the society was set up different from the US.”
Dr. Carmold Murry felt that he and his colleagues were simply owning their heritage. “You don’t ever take a moment and step back from that,” he was clear, “of course, you bring your heritage into every environment you enter.” He acknowledged that carrying a true Vincentian culture became a standout point everywhere. “Our politeness, hospitality, respectfulness, are all great in the hospital for bedside manner. I’ve had patients, preceptors, the school in general compliment me because of my bedside manner; the way I treat them, the respect with which I observe their feelings, emotions, and speaking to them not just as a doctor but also like a human being.”
But the journey is not over. Even as these students prepare to pursue their specialties, they are eager to welcome Vincentian doctors willing to take the same journey as they did, prepared to walk a brother or a sister along the road they have travelled, and open to providing information and advice from their experiences.
In essence, the four have become beacons for young Vincentians everywhere.
Writer’s Credit: The article above originally appeared in the Vincentian news outlet Asberth News Network with Gloria Williams reporting the event.