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School of Medicine

VCU School of Medicine

Welcome to VCU School of Medicine

M.D. Program

Welcome to M.D. Program

White Coat Ceremony

Professionalism begins on day-one for medical students. The White Coat Ceremony, scheduled during M1 orientation, is when medical students receive the most important symbol of their quest for a medical degree—their white coats. The ceremony celebrates the students’ entry into the medical profession and clarifies the special nature of the doctor-patient relationship. The White Coat Ceremony is a momentous occasion and an essential component of matriculation.

Family and friends are invited to attend the ceremony with the student. These invited guests represent the emotional support and value system closest to the student.

At the ceremony, students are welcomed by their deans and other dignitaries. These respected leaders represent the value system of the school and the new profession the students are about to enter. The white coat is the mantle of the profession and is personally placed on each student’s shoulders by individuals who believe in the student’s ability to carry on the noble tradition of doctoring. It is a gift of faith and confidence personally delivered.

The annual White Coat Ceremony is a tradition at many Schools of Medicine, marking the beginning of a student’s medical education. The white coat has great responsibility attached to it. It implies a purely professional interest and conveys a sense of reassurance and confidence to even the most anxious patient. The white coat is a cloak of knowledge and compassion—and an important part of healing.

Hippocratic Oath

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath traditionally taken by physicians pertaining to the ethical practice of medicine. It is recited as part of the White Coat Ceremony.


The Oath of Hippocrates

I do solemnly swear... by that which I hold most sacred...

That I will be loyal to the profession of medicine... and just and generous to its members...

That I will lead my life and practice my art... in uprightness and honor...

That into whatsoever house I shall enter... it shall be for the good of the sick to the utmost of my power...

That I will hold myself aloof from wrong... from corruption... from the tempting of others to vice...

That I will exercise my art... solely for the cure of my patients... and will give no drug... perform no operation... for a criminal purpose... even if solicited... far less suggest it

That whatsoever I shall see or hear... of the lives of men and women... which is not fitting to be spoken... I will keep inviolably secret

These things I promise... and in proportions as I am faithful to this my oath... may happiness and good repute be ever mine... the opposite if I shall be forsworn.