January 2014

Worldwide Audience Witness 2014 Clinical Commencement Ceremony

Wed, 29 January 14 09:00

Worldwide Audience Witness 2014 Clinical Commencement Ceremony

Over 900 family and friends in 26 countries around the world tuned into our live broadcast of the 2014 Clinical Commencement ‘White Coat’ Ceremony which took place on Wednesday 29th January 2014.  This international audience joined 626 guests who attended in person at UCD O’Reilly Hall for the fifth School clinical commencement ceremony.

This year, 310 undergraduate entry and graduate entry medicine students were ‘robed’ by a selection of senior faculty at the ceremony which is rapidly becoming an important milestone for our medical students.  The Clinical Commencement Ceremony marks the mid-way point of our students’ medical education at UCD and the progression into full time clinical training at our affiliated teaching hospitals and across our primary care network.

Academic Procession, Group of Students Receiving their White Coats and Class Photograph after Clinical Commencement 'White Coat' Ceremony

Academic Procession, Group of Students Receiving their White Coats and Class Photograph after Clinical Commencement 'White Coat' Ceremony 2014

The event was particularly memorable for one UCD academic staff member as Professor Karina Butler (UCD Clinical Professor at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin) was afforded the opportunity to gown her own daughter, Ms Eimear O’Connell as she follows her parents into a career in medicine.  Eimear's father is Dr Paul O’Connell (UCD Medicine 1978), consultant rheumatologist at Beaumont Hospital and member of the distinguished O’Connell family with now at least four generations involved in Medicine.

Karina Butler robes her daughter Eimear O'Connell at UCD Clinical Commencement White Coat Ceremony.
Family Affairs - Karina Butler, Eimear O'Connell & Paul O'Connell

Prof Karina Butler robes her daughter Eimear O'Connell at UCD Clinical Commencement White Coat Ceremony 2014 ; O'Connell Family Affair - Dr Paul O'Connell, Ms Eimear O'Connell & Prof Karina Butler.

The assembled group were honoured to have Prof Freddie Wood (UCD Associate Clinical Professor, UCD Medicine 1971), President of the Medical Council of Ireland who gave the key note address.  Drawing on his 46 year career in medicine, Prof Wood asked students to be guided by the principal ‘Primium non nocere’ (First, do no harm).  Quoting the 16th century French physician, Ambroise Pare, he described the physician’s duty as

  • To cure sometimes
  • To relieve often
  • To care always

He also implored the emerging young doctors to embrace 3 A’s, 3 C’s and 3 H’s by being able, affable, available (quoting Prof John Barragry, UCD Medicine 1970), consultation, communication, caring and (after Lee Shulman, legendary US educational psychologist), habits of the head, the hand and the heart.  

Prof Freddie Wood (President, Medical Council of Ireland) and Prof Pat Murray (Dean of Medicine and Head, UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science) at the UCD Medicine Clinical Commencement 'White Coat' Ceremony 2014.

Prof Freddie Wood (President, Medical Council of Ireland) and Prof Patrick Murray (Dean of Medicine & Head, UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science)

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Patrick Murray, Dean of Medicine and Head of School noted

The awarding of a white coat is both practical and symbolic; in addition to protection of clothing, the white coat represents the increased professional privileges but also the responsibilities that accompany this transition. In addition to the expectations for professionalism in practice, conduct, and ethics, you are also joining a medical community in which it is a doctor’s primary responsibility to be a strong advocate for their patients, above all other considerations (personal and otherwise).

This is particularly important in a period of shrinking healthcare resources, in which you must reinforce the standard of evidence-based best practice to guide management of patients under your care. The latter also mandates development of leadership skills, which we will also seek to develop before your graduation and beyond.

In addition to receiving a coveted UCD White Coat, the students were given a copy of the UCD Student Guide to Medical Education created by Dr Suzanne Donnelly (UCD Director of Clinical Education) and the Medical Council Guide for Medical Students on Ethical Standards and Behaviour.  Prof Murray reminded that students that they would continue to have the guidance and mentorship of their peers, new medical colleagues and School staff throughout their clinical apprenticeship.

Courtesy of Dr Kirsten Shaffer (UCD Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Microbiologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital), the students were also presented with individual antiseptic alcohol gels as a reminder of the handwashing routine which now much become an essential clinical habit.

Students and their families enjoying the UCD Medicine Clinical Commencement 'White Coat' Ceremony.

Our congratulations and best wishes go to our students on this key career milestone and our thanks to all School staff who participate in the event onstage and behind the scenes.  We were delighted to have been able to welcome our students’ family and friends to UCD for the ceremony and to have so many more watch the live stream and on YouTube. 

The online audience drew over 900 viewers from 26 countries including Austria, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iraq, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Norway, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.  In addition to these live stream viewers, there have been more than 300 views on the School’s YouTube channel after the event.

Prof Murray also acknowledge the contribution of Prof Frank Bonner (UCD Medicine 1970) who has generously supported the Clinical Commencement Ceremony event since its inception in 2010.


More Information

Photographs from the event

Set 1 ; Set 2 ; Set 3

Video footage of the Ceremony is available here on the UCD Medicine YouTube channel.