Symbolism to Mark Start of School Year for Western University's New Physical Therapy Students

Pomona, CA - 12/11/2000 -- Members of Western University: A Graduate University of Medical Science's Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) class of 2003, will don their white lab coats for the first time in a special campus ceremony at noon, Sunday, January 7.

The white coat has come to symbolize the wearer as a caregiver. To wear the garment is to accept responsibility for someone else's well being. Putting it on for the first time is a symbolic moment for health professionals-in-training, one that many health professions universities such as Western University now celebrate.

Entering members of the University's other health professions programs have their white coat ceremonies during the University's Welcome Week in August. The University's MPT students matriculate in January and so a special white coat ceremony is held for them just a few days into the start of their program.

It is here that the students - before friends, family and faculty - slip into their white lab coats and recite the "Pledge of Commitment," a promise to work toward becoming competent and compassionate health care professionals.

"White coat ceremonies serve as a wonderful starting point for our students as they begin their health care careers," said Donna Redman- Bentley, PhD, PT, chair, Physical Therapy Education Department. "Donning that white lab coat is a powerful reminder of the privileges and responsibilities they are undertaking."

Western University's Master of Physical Therapy program was launched in 1992 and is housed in the College of Allied Health Professions. The program takes two years and four months to complete and prepares the graduate to become a physical therapist generalist with education in all areas of practice, including clinical practice, clinical research, publications, public presentations and teaching.

For more information on the Master of Physical Therapy program, contact the University's Office of Admissions at (909) 469-5541.

(To learn more about this news article please contact Public Affairs Department)
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