Everyone gets into medicine for different reasons but in one way or another we do it because we want to help people. Whether it is helping them to cope with their disease, cure their illness or accept their new life path, we are dedicated to serving our patients with all of the knowledge and experience that we are so fortunate to have. When I put on my white coat I am reminded of the incredible responsibility that comes along with it as well as the tremendous opportunity to heal and advocate for every person that puts their trust in me as their caregiver.
My white coat serves as a daily reminder of the commitment I have made to a lifetime of service, starting now, as a medical student. I consider a career in medicine to be a calling to the service to others, and having my white coat pushes me to do the best I can to acquire the skills I need, in order to be in a position to serve others, and to serve them well. My white coat symbolizes the responsibility I have to use science, love, kindness and compassions to heal the body, mind, and spirit of every patient that will fall under my care, as a future physician.
A single word that embodies so much of what it means to be a physician. My white coat is a reminder to serve the sick, vulnerable, and oppressed with compassion. It is a symbol of hope in the face of despair and an opportunity to bring physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to those I encounter.
To me, my white coat symbolizes the life that I have now dedicated myself to by becoming a medical student at Georgetown: a life centered in compassionately caring for the whole of each and every person I serve as a future physician. Wearing this coat is a privilege that I will not take lightly, as I will attempt to spend each and every day of my career caring for my patients under the Jesuit value of Cura Personalis, or care for the whole person. Over the next four years and beyond, I hope for nothing more than to live up to the incredible reputation that comes along with the Georgetown University School of Medicine seal on my white coat.
Upon donning the white coat for the first time, I symbolically put on a white, blank slate. That blank slate is the foundation upon which all my knowledge, ability, trust, and care will be built upon. The white coat is a canvas upon which knowledge, experience, relationships, heartbreak, and happiness will be foreverimprinted. The journey of medical exploration will enable me to continue to discover who I am and what it truly means to be a physician whom is completely focused upon the health and well being of the patient. Illness can be one of the scariest and toughest moments of a patient’s life. The privilege to enter into that illness is built upon trust and mutual understanding of the physician’s growth into an individual who is completely focused on caring for the whole patient.
My White Coat means making a difference. My family always told me that that the way to live an authentic and fulfilling life is to have a positive impact on others. I have always been mesmerized by the Hebrew phrase of Tikkun Olam, which to me means that by healing one person, you are healing your entire community. Through medicine, I will commit myself to becoming a physician where I can make a difference, not only in the lives of my patients, but in the lives of their families.
When first donning the white coat to every moment thereafter, I’ve accepted the responsibility of becoming a lifelong learner and to dedicate my life to the service and well being of others. In many ways, it’s the highest responsibility I could ever bare. A responsibility that embodies you through the actions you take and the choices you make, servicing the notion that you are now devoted to something greater than yourself. I’ll wear my symbol of dedication with the honor of knowing that I will be looked towards to inspire confidence and wellness among the people I’ll come to serve.
To me, the white coat symbolizes the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. Doctors are privy to their patients' deepest insecurities and fears. In response to this vulnerability, physicians must deliver the highest quality of care for the illness while empowering patients to take control of their own health. When I put on my white coat, I am reminded of this unique privilege and responsibility.
When I put on my white coat in the morning and look at myself in the mirror, I still can't help but grin ear to ear, realizing that every day I get to put everything I have into my work so others may live a better life. It'll be hard, sometimes it'll be thankless, and people will constantly say it's not worth what I get out of it. Yet every night, I will fall asleep, proud of the work that I’ve done to serve others for a living and not once questioning the value of the profession I’ve chosen; and every morning, I get to wake up, put on my coat, and grin as I realize how lucky I am to be able to dedicate my life to the service of others.
Janae Van Buren
As a human being, my ultimate goal is to work with and fight for individuals and communities that are facing social and health inequities. One of the routes by which I strive to accomplish this goal is through my practice of medicine and my privilege. My white coat is an immense privilege and I hope to use it to effect change and improve health in the most vulnerable populations. By wearing my white coat, I want people, especially my patients, to know that I recognize the intersectionality and complex relationships of social determinants of health--and that I will show up for them, listen to them, and do what is in my power to fight for health justice and their wellbeing.
My white coat serves as a reminder to always embody the Jesuit value of “cura personalis” or caring for the whole person. As a future physician, I promise to see my patients as more than just a diagnosis. I’ll strive to recognize the many dimensions of my patients’ lives that make them who they are, and each of us unique. I’ll work to understand these components, and appreciate the impact that they can have. And I’ll use this perspective to by who my patients need me to be, whether an advocate, educator, or provider. Together, we can strive for improved quality of life, more successful treatments, and better outcomes.
I believe that to be a great doctor you can not simply be intelligent, a hard worker, or empathetic, you must posses each of these qualities and so many more. My white coat means that I am afforded the great privilege of using the gifts that I have been blessed with to make a difference in the world. It is a promise that every day I will give all that I have to helping my patients.
I strive to use the knowledge and skills I begin to develop as a student to listen to, to teach, and to heal future patients. When healing is not possible, I hope to help patients find comfort. The white coat embodies many attributes and experiences, but this journey begins with compassion.
This white coat symbolizes my life-long commitment to upholding the Jesuit value of cura personalis while serving the needs of medically disadvantaged communities. Unfortunately, Washington is home to some of our nation’s most polarizing health disparities. Passionate about reducing such inequalities in health care, I continually strive to use my interdisciplinary education from Georgetown to enrich humanistic care for underserved families and to address the needs of an increasingly diverse society. By employing the scientific knowledge and clinical skills I have gained while donning this coat, I will continue to work hard to expand patient education in medically underprivileged communities and to promote behavioral change that supports both a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Whether we are working with patients to treat serious medical conditions, helping family members cope with the death of a loved one, or saving a life in the ER, physicians have the privilege of helping their patients when they are in their most vulnerable state. It is an honor to be involved in someone’s life during such intimate moments and we should not take that for granted. My hope for medical school is to hone my skills in empathy and compassion so that I can be a source of comfort for my patients when they need me. My white coat means getting to help others when they need it most.
The white coat is more than our welcome into the profession of medicine. It is a standard against which our current and future acts of care will be judged. As I enter the journey of my medical career, my white coat will serve as a reminder to be humble, authentic, and other-centered. For me, it is above all else a symbol of integrity. The word "integrity" stems from the Latin adjective integer meaning whole or complete. Integrity is our inner sense of "wholeness" deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. My Georgetown education is building this stable foundation of integrity to provide care for the whole person, and to advocate for the improved health of society.
My white coat means patient advocacy on all levels, not just in the exam room. It means recognizing the patient as a full and complex human rather than a singular case, and it means a commitment to professionalism and continual learning.
With the constant advancement of biomedical research, it is imperative to remain committed to, and excited about learning throughout a successful career in medicine. I want to be able to help my patients with the most up-to-date and effective treatments, no matter if I learned them in medical school, or if they are discovered 15 years after my graduation. In order to do this, I look forward to following relevant research and regularly learning from my peers.
White coats may be conspicuous, but the color white symbolizes surrender. It means that we have chosen a profession that requires us to dedicate our lives to improving those of our patients. As I embark on this journey, my white coat will be a constant reminder that it's not about me at all, it's about my (future) patients.
When I put on my white coat, I am no longer accountable only for myself. I am now accountable for my patients, whoever and in whatever stage of life they may be in. I have a responsibility when I put on this coat to care for all patients in a time of need. I know this will be difficult at times, which is why I will have to persevere and learn each day to be the best physician I can be.
I believe that by donning the white coat we all commit to serving others and supporting them to live their healthiest lives. This service requires a high level of empathy, care and attention that are vital to medical practice because we deal with real human life and death. By accepting and wearing my white coat I also agree to respect all persons, help those who cannot help themselves and always act in the best interest of my patients. Personally, wearing my white coat means finally entering the career path of which I have dreamt since kindergarten.
Representation matters. In some cases, it may be the gateway to developing trust and understanding with your patients. My white coat serves as a symbol of the dedication I have to not only represent black women in medicine, but also as a tool for advocating for the many who may not be able to advocate for themselves. It is the first step in fulfilling the promise I made to serving the underserved.
My affinity for medicine started young, yet I did not know I would one day be in pursuit of such a profession. The very inkling of becoming a doctor was the furthest thought from my mind, but the culmination of life experiences and lessons taught by my grandparents are what brought me here. Being the first person in my family to attend a university, let alone a prestigious medical school, did not happen by chance. I was called to this profession and I am dedicated to the well-being of my patients. The opportunity lies not in being a doctor, but having the opportunity to serve those that need me the most.
Advocacy plays a significant role in the medical field. A physician must advocate for his or her patients’ health, no matter what groups the patients belong to and identify with. My white coat is a reminder that it is my duty to make sure that the health of my patient is not compromised because of social determinants of health that I can help change. I will constantly work to improve health care in order to better the quality of care available to all, while also supporting and caring for vulnerable populations. I hope to strive towards health equity throughout my journey in medicine