The University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) last Thursday inducted 111 medical students into clinical studies at the university.
The students who were in two batches comprised 70 regular students and 41 graduate entry students, the highest that the school had ever presented at a White Coat ceremony since its inception.
A White Coat ceremony is a rite of passage that often takes place during the initial days of orientation for first-year students in medical, nursing and physician assistant programmes.
During the ceremony, a White Coat is placed on each student's shoulders and often the Hippocratic Oath is recited, signifying their entrance into the medical profession.
The students presented at this year’s White Coat event had completed three years of classroom work and were being ushered into the clinical training phase of their studies. They took the UCCSMS clinical students oath, as was the norm of practice.
Don’t breach confidentiality
The acting Registrar of the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, Dr Divine Banyubala, cautioned the students to be careful not to breach confidentiality of their patients on social media.
He said the increasing use of social media in both personal and professional undertakings heightened the tendency for one to breach the confidentiality of his or her patients and advised medical practitioners therefore to be wary and not get caught in the act.
He said the issue of confidentiality had been of major concern to the council in recent times and called on practitioners to exhibit the highest sense of professionalism.
“A key concern of the current council is in regard of medical privacy and confidentiality insofar as technology was concerned, specifically, the use of social media. Make sure you learn to keep patients’ information confidential. Never discuss patients’ confidential information either in the public space or on social media,” he advised.
“You are on a path to join what I daresay is the most trusted profession and you will come in contact with patients and the public. Learn to maintain good behaviour at all times. Your behaviour must justify the public trust in you," he added.
He further asked the students to be guided by the tenets of the medical profession and reflect its core values. He also advised them to show respect for time - in both their clinical work and studies and to dress well to befit their status.
The Provost of the UCC College of Health and Allied Sciences, Professor Martins Ekor, said the UCCSMS was committed to producing highly trained professional doctors who were inspired to be the best in their fields.
He said the school provided academic and clinical training using new models that linked education to industry and knowledge to experience, as well as theory to practice.
He said he hoped that the students would be highly responsible with their work during the period, adding that "instead of manikins we are now entrusting you with patients.”
He said the UCCSMS offered a rigorous curricula that was grounded in the sciences and connected to the healthcare professions with emphasis on contemporary issues.
"Our curriculum is built on our commitments to interdisciplinary enquiry, international understanding, interactive teaching, research and creative endeavours, practical application and social responsibility towards all communities," he said.
Prof. Ekor added that the practitioners in the medical profession had to be people-centred, community-oriented and research-conscious, and, therefore, the UCCSMS has the mission to maintain an academic and clinical environment where all staff and students work to achieve excellence.
Medicine a calling
The Dean of the UCCSMS, Prof. Sebastian Eliason, said medicine was a calling and not a business and as such told the students to be honest, compassionate, empathetic and wise as they went about their duties.
In a speech read on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, Prof. Johnson Nyarko, by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dora Edubuandoh, he urged the students to wear the White Coat with pride and to practise in humility and dignity.
He also advised the students to exhibit integrity and honour, adding that they were bound by the same professional ethics and commitment that guided all medical practitioners.