On June 26, 2010, the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Florida was filled with family and friends of the UF College of Dentistry’s class of 2012. They came to watch as the class, having finished their first two years of dental school, marked a significant transition in their education by donning professional white coats for the first time. The class is moving from classroom and simulated learning environments into a true clinical setting where they’ll treat patients under the supervision of UFCD faculty.
The program, presided over by Boyd Robinson, D.D.S., M.Ed., associate dean for clinical affairs, included a greeting from Larry Nissen, D.D.S., president of the Florida Dental Association and a keynote presented by Randy Caton, D.D.S., a Gainesville dentist who wrapped “pearls of wisdom” within a humorous speech. Caton told the students that they should never treat a stranger; but rather should always get to know their patients and provide personal, professional care.
The students chose three faculty to participate in the ceremony including Marcelle Nascimento, D.D.S., Ph.D., who served as the faculty marshall. Luciana Shaddox, D.D.S., Ph.D., and Claudio Varella, D.D.S., assisted the students as they donned their white coats embroidered with the college logo and the student’s name.
White Coat Ceremony history
The white coat is a long-held symbol of the medical professions and the White Coat Ceremony, although relatively new, highlights the immense responsibility that comes with wearing a white laboratory coat.
Coating ceremonies are a relatively new tradition among professional schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy and veterinary medicine, among other professions. Believed to have originated at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine in 1989, the ceremonial donning of white coats has now spread to schools in and outside the United States.
The Dentist’s Pledge
As a member of the dental profession, I shall keep this pledge and these stipulations.
I understand and accept that my primary responsibility is to my patients, and I shall dedicate myself to render, to the best of my ability, the highest standard of oral health care and to maintain a relationship of respect and confidence. Therefore, let all come to me safe in the knowledge that their total health and well-being is my first consideration.
I shall accept the responsibility that, as a professional, my competence rests on continuing to attain knowledge and skill in the arts and science of dentistry.
I acknowledge my obligation to support and sustain the honor and integrity of the profession and to conduct myself in all endeavors such that I shall merit the respect of patients, colleagues and my community. I further commit myself to the betterment of my community for the benefits of all society.
I shall faithfully observe the Principles of Ethics and the Code of Professional Conduct set forth by the profession.
All this I pledge with pride in my commitment to the profession and the public it serves.