The hopes and ambitions of 47 college students were summed up as Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) held its annual White Coat Ceremony.

The event marks the moment when the 47 students who this year have been accepted onto the college’s medical programme don the white coat of the physician for the first time – marking the induction of the students into the world of medicine and healing.

The future doctors – 28% of whom are Qatari – accepted the white coat and stethoscope in front of their proud parents and family members in a ceremony at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Student Center. If successful in their studies, they will graduate in 2019.

Dr Javaid Sheikh, Dean of WCMC-Q, said the White Coat Ceremony was of great significance.

Dr Sheikh said:

The white coat is a universal symbol of science and the art of healing. The coat is a public sign that the wearer has dedicated their life to medicine and is committed to excellence in science and learning. It is a sign that they are compassionate and care for their fellow man. The white coat may, in reality, be just a piece of material but its meaning and significance are so much more.’

The ceremony marked the completion of WCMC-Q’s four-day orientation programme in which the students met their classmates and faculty, learned about the standards of professional conduct expected of them and received training on standard medical safety procedures. WCMC-Q alumna Dr Mashael Abdulrahman Al Khelaifi, who now works as a pediatric anesthesiologist at Hamad Medical Corporation, delivered the keynote speech.

She stressed the importance of listening to patients, of taking the time to conduct a thorough examination and the patient’s need to be able to trust their doctor. She also told the students of the strong bonds of friendship they would make while at WCMC-Q.

Dr Al-Khelaifi said:

You will develop such camaraderie with the people who are sitting around you, and this bond will help you through many difficult times to come during the course of the next few years. You will spend more time with them than your own families. You will laugh together, you will cry together, and you will celebrate your successes together. I speak from experience, and I can tell you that I have not only gained an excellent medical education from this school, but I have also gained brothers and sisters who will always have a special place in my heart.’

One of those donning the white coat for the first time was Yaser Janahi, who completed two years of the pre-medical curriculum at WCMC-Q. He said it was a proud moment for him.

Yaser said:

I feel like I’ve finally made it and, insha’Allah, I will succeed. I feel that this is something that Qatar has given me, that they brought me to this college and sponsored me and I feel it’s time for me to return that favour.’