A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Science (ATSU-ASHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy program moved its annual White Coat Ceremony virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony consisted of home videos from each of the 62 students, putting on their white coats one at a time. The videos were shot from backyards, nearby parks, and living rooms of each student.
“A white coat symbolizes a physical therapy student’s transition from the academic portion into the clinical portion of their education,” said Lori Bordenave, PT, DPT, PhD. “This is really a time when professionalism becomes paramount, as does the care for the patients that will be in their hands.”
Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA, served as keynote speaker at the ceremony and brought a thoughtful discussion of changes being faced in today’s medical field amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Students were also congratulated by Ann Lee Burch, PT, EdD, MS, MPH, dean of ATSU-ASHS, and Jim Farris, PT, PhD, Physical Therapy department chair.
“I imagine that you have a combination of fear and excitement, depending on your confidence levels and comfort level with adaptability to change,” Dr. Burch said. “I do know for certain that the faculty before you has prepared you well for this transition, and that you yourselves have put in the effort and time to obtain the knowledge and skills to be successful during this next phase of your graduate education.”
“My challenge to you then is to lead. Lead with integrity, lead by adhering to the profession’s ethical standards,” Dr. Farris said. “You don’t have to be in the spotlight to lead. You can lead from where you are. So be the best that you can be and be an advocate for your profession.”