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University holds inaugural white coat ceremony for Graduate Physician Assistant Studies Program
08-15-13

The inaugural white coat ceremony was held Aug. 4.

The first class of students in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program at Misericordia University received their white coats at a special ceremony held recently in Lemmond Theater in Walsh Hall.

 More than 100 family and friends were on hand for the event, which included welcome messages from Scott Massey, Ph.D., PA-C., professor and founding chair and program director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, and Thomas J. Botzman, Ph.D., president of Misericordia University. The 20 students were presented with their coats and recited the pledge of a physician assistant promising to adhere to the core values of honesty, integrity, altruism and empathy of the profession. 
 
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) degree at Misericordia University is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. It is an intensive 24-month, year-round program designed for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and meet other entrance requirements or are enrolled in the Misericordia University Bachelor of Science in Medical Science (BSMS) 3+2 program.
 
The white coat ceremony signifies the completion of the didactic year of study. The students, members of the inaugural Class of 2014, now move into the clinical phase of their training.
 
“The white coat has its roots in early 20th century medical education, when it was selected as a symbol of asepsis, scientific authority and healing, and to impress upon students the importance of compassion and humility in the practice of medicine,” Dr. Stanley J. Dudrick, M.D., F.A.C.S., medical director of the program, explained to the audience. “The coat provides those who wear it with a seriousness of purpose. It conveys that the wearer is knowledgeable, competent, respectful, trustworthy and caring. The donning of a short coat represents one step in the journey of a student to become a physician assistant.”
 
The students will don a longer coat when they graduate and take the Physician Assistant Professional Oath, reminding them to always put the health, safety and privacy of their patients first and at all times be professional, he added.
 
Faculty members Darci Brown, M.S.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of clinical education; and Abigail P. Davis, M.S.P.A.S., P.A.-C., director of didactic education, also offered remarks.
   
Freshman students are accepted into the BSMS program at Misericordia each fall in cohorts of 20. To receive the BSMS, students complete a curriculum of 125 to 131 semester hours.
  
In the upcoming clinical year, this class of students will perform nine five-week clinical clerkships in a variety of professional settings to ensure that they amass a wide range of learning experiences. Working directly with patients under professional supervision, the students will learn to evaluate and treat medical problems in ambulatory medicine, long-term care, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, women ’s health, and emergency medicine. In a classroom setting, the students will also prepare to take the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE) and an objective standardized clinical examination (OSCE) in order to enter the profession.
 
 
Photo Caption:
 
The first class of students in the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies Program at Misericordia University received their white coats at a special ceremony held recently on campus. Shown front row, from left, are Sagar Naik, Philadelphia, Pa.; Jennifer Rizel, Kingston, Pa.; Erin Miller, Allentown, Pa.; Kayla Healey, Woodbury, N.J.; Becky Jackson, Greensboro, Md.; and Manjula Chava, Hillsborough, N.J.; second row, Sean Domzalski, Nanticoke, Pa.; Jennifer Corcoran, Shavertown, Pa.; Jennifer Laskowski, Larksville, Pa.; Alicia Dill, Scranton, Pa.; Marnie Cunningham, Palmerton, Pa.; Alexis Patrick, Lock Haven, Pa.; Sarah Harvey, Benton, Pa.; and Laura Weatherholtz, Yardley, Pa.; third row,  Jonathan Weiss, Minersville, Pa.; Andrew Marky, Basking Ridge, N.J.; Kevin Della Rosa, Laflin, Pa.; Michelle Kostelansky, Plains, Pa.; Dayna Ruhf, Mountain Top, Pa.; and Matthew Vinnacombe, Plains, Pa.