By Michael Abramowitz
Saturday, August 16, 2014
The 80 people occupying the front rows in the packed auditorium at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University held white lab coats in their laps, waiting for a signal to put them on and be distinguished from the rest of the audience.
From that point on, those individuals were an elite group, members of the Brody School of Medicine Class of 2018. They were welcomed by school faculty at special ceremonies designed to begin their medical education.
Their first lesson was on the meaning of the white coats they now wear and was found in information provided to them. It is a “cloak of compassion… that conveys to even the most anxious a sense of seriousness and purpose that helps provide reassurance and confidence.”
After they were welcomed by Dr. Elizabeth Baxley, senior associate dean for academic affairs, keynote speaker Dr. Dean Patton, a clinical professor of family medicine, urged the students to embrace and enlarge the sense of wonder they bring to their medical education experience.
“I see in your eyes joy, enthusiasm, intensity, warmth and engagement,” Patton told the students. “For me, medical school was wonderful because my dad taught me to wonder. As a doctor, a day does not go by when I am not astonished and amazed by life.”
The professor reminded the students that they have a way to go before they would gain the ability to provide medical care, but are fortunate to be where they are.
“You’ve come to a school that specializes in turning matriculating medical students into compassionate, caring and competent physicians,” Patton said, “especially if you take some time to wonder. You will do well, be happier and more full if you take time every day to ponder this new and mysterious experience.”
At Brody, the first two years of medical school are classroom-based, encompassing basic sciences, ethics and exposure to primary care and doctoring.
Year three consists of a series of predetermined clinical clerkships and the fourth year allows for more individualized clinical experiences.
Much of the clinical training will occur in rural health care settings across eastern North Carolina.
Students will earn a medical degree at the Brody School before going on to residencies and additional years of training in various specialties.
Contact Michael Abramowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9571.