September 12, 2005
Source: University of Toronto:
Dentistry students take oath of commitment
Future dentists who pledge willingness to serve their patients with conscience, dignity, sympathy, kindness
by Elaine Smith
The sound of 70 voices reverberated through the Hart House Debates Room Aug. 31 as incoming dentistry students recited their faculty’s new oath of commitment.
"As a new dental student, I recognize that the practice of dentistry is a privilege that comes with considerable responsibility,” said the future dentists, who pledged their willingness to serve their patients with conscience, dignity, sympathy and kindness.
The oath was part of a new white-coat ceremony welcoming the students onto the path leading to their chosen profession. Prior to taking the oath, each student received a white lab coat emblazoned with the faculty’s crest, a badge of honour symbolizing their entry into the dental fraternity. “This ceremony brings to the forefront the transition from just being a student to being a healthcare professional and provider,” said Professor David Mock, dean of the faculty.
Irwin Fefergrad, registrar of the profession’s licensing body, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, wrote and administered the oath. He noted that the entire ceremony emphasized the importance of professionalism and ethics. “At the very outset of their careers, we’re saying to them that they will be equipped with the best dental education in the world, coupled with a sense of responsibility for delivering excellent health care, and we require that this new skill set be used in an ethical way,” he said.
“This was very meaningful,” said Ronit Weizblit of Toronto, her dark hair offset by her new white coat. “It’s a large commitment and this brought it to my attention.”
Oshawa’s Patrick Rossi, who worked for a year after university before entering dental school, said the ceremony reminded him that he was really on his way to becoming a dentist. “Up until this point, it was almost like a daydream,” he said. “Putting on the coat and saying the oath made it all real.
Vipin Grover of Peterborough donned his white coat and recited the oath with pride. “Every profession has to have an oath to bind you and make your commitment more stronger,” he said. “When you treat patients and deal directly with people, it’s necessary to have the pressure of ethics.”
The oath also included a pledge to work with faculty and colleagues in a spirit of co-operation and respect, words applauded by Jack Cottrell, a U of T alumnus and president of the Canadian Dental Association. “Right from the get-go we want students to understand that we support one another,” he said.
He also praised the Faculty of Dentistry for initiating the white coat ceremony and administering an oath. “I think the ceremony will stand out as a premier event for the students as a symbol of a big step they’re taking in their lives and the oath reinforces the fact that professionalism and ethics are really expected of them,” he said.