PA White Coat Ceremony Demonstrates Commitment to Compassionate Care
The Mississippi College Physician Assistant Program conducted its 10th and 11th White Coat Ceremonies for the Classes of 2022 and 2023, respectively. The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition that marks an important milestone in the MC PA Program.
The white coat in medicine is a symbol of belonging to a profession of passion, commitment, and privilege – the privilege to care for the health and well-being of our community, the privilege of healing. It is an extraordinary opportunity, and a tremendous responsibility.
In addition to receiving their white coats, members of both classes also took the Physician Assistant Oath, during which the students pledged to perform the duties of providing for the safety, welfare, and dignity of all human beings.
The Class of 2023 began in May 2021 and will wear their coats when they attend lectures, perform simulated patient encounters, and volunteer in medical clinics. The Class of 2022 is making the transition between the 15-month classroom portion of the MC PA Program to the 15-month clinical portion, where they will do clinical rotations at hospitals, clinics, and physician offices.
Clinical rotations are conducted throughout Mississippi primarily, but may be anywhere in the United States. Some students even do international rotations. In fact, MC currently has a student in West Africa!
The MC PA Program is celebrating its 10th year since being established in 2011. There are now 36 students in each cohort and 238 graduates of the program.
One of the MC PA Program’s primary goals is to recruit students who are residents or have residency ties to Mississippi. The program continues to meet this goal, and many of these graduates remain in the state to help address the many health needs Mississippi has. Also, a large number – 47 percent – of those who attend from outside the state choose to remain in Mississippi!
Facts about the “typical” PA student in Mississippi: The average age on admission is 24 years. The average GPA is 3.61 (compared to a national average of 3.52). A majority – 69 percent – are female, while 31 percent are male.
PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, PAs are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.
While PAs may not be as well known in Mississippi as in other states, that is changing. PAs are making a big impact on healthcare here and, increasingly, physicians are asking about hosting a PA student and/or hiring a PA.