The Veterinarian’s White Coat

On June 15th the AMC will hold its annual white coat ceremony welcoming a new group of young veterinarians to AMC. These veterinarians were selected from a pool of hundreds of the brightest and best young veterinarians in the country. For the next 13 months, these 18 veterinarians will rotate though the various specialties at The AMC, guided by The AMC’s experienced staff. Their experiences at The AMC will expand upon the knowledge they gained during four years of veterinary college. This coming year embodies the final line of the Veterinarian’s Oath, taken at graduation from veterinary college, “I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”

This week’s white coat ceremony marks the transition from veterinary student to veterinary medical professional. Medical colleges, schools of pharmacy and colleges of veterinary medicine are all adding the white coat ceremony to their annual calendars. Initiated in 1993, at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the white coat ceremony was developed to realign the balance between scientifically based medical care and compassionate patient care. Veterinarians carry the additional responsibility of preserving the human-companion animal bond and in their oath, veterinarians promise to “benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.”

Medical professionals adopted the white coat, because it was considered to be pure and hygienic. Scientists also wore the white coat. With the coming of the 19th century, medicine moved into the world of science and away from the medieval practices such as exorcism, incantations and blood letting. With the change in emphasis in the practice of medicine, the members of the profession needed to look their part. And thus, the white coat was chosen to represent responsibility, empathy, knowledge, skill and integrity and as is recited in the Veterinarian’s Oath, “I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

These are good words to live by and now you know why we wear those white coats. They are a constant reminder of our promise to those animals and their families we have the privilege of caring for daily.

The Animal Medical Center

For 100 years, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit http://www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.

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One Response to The Veterinarian’s White Coat

  1. […] The next two weeks at The Animal Medical Center mark an important milestone for the institution, veterinary medicine and pets everywhere. On June 24th, we are celebrating the graduation of the 50th class of veterinary interns. Earlier this week, we welcomed the 51st intern class at our annual White Coat Ceremony. […]

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