Wise words prepare third-year medical students for transition to patient care

Their first day as third-year medical students began with advice and words of wisdom, as well as applause and hugs.


On March 4, as friends and family watched, 128 medical students took part in the annual Student Clinician Ceremony, an event that marks the transition from being second-year students who focus primarily on classroom and textbook learning to third-year students who will learn primarily as apprentices to physicians and interacting with patients in clinical and hospital settings.

“You have spent your first two years learning the science, and now you have to put everything you’ve learned so far into practice,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the Morsani College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health. “But remember, this is your time to learn things no book can teach you. You will have to develop a level of trust with your patients because, once you don your white coat, people will talk with you in a very different way.”

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   Dr. Steve Klasko reminds students that patients respond differently to a physician’s white coat.

Christopher DeClue and Kirk Chassey partnered to speak to their fellow students, presenting a unified message on the importance of working together. Both are medical students, with DeClue in the Core MD Program and Chassey in the SELECT Program.

“We represent the unity of our class,” Chassey said. “We’ve learned together and we’ve thrived together.”

“Medicine is becoming more of a team-based sport,” DeClue said. “If we can learn together early in our careers, we’ll provide the best care possible.”

Urging the group to maintain existing partnerships, like that with the Morsani College of Medicine, and to form new partnerships, Alicia Monroe, MD, chief academic officer and vice dean for Educational Affairs, helped the students see the bridges that are formed across a lifetime.

“Remember that to be extraordinary caregivers you have to be good partners,” Dr. Monroe said. “Your personal values you bring into the partnership and who you bring to the table sets the stage for how effective you can be.”

The day’s keynote speaker was Robert Ledford, MD, director of the Medical Observational Unit at Tampa General Hospital and assistant professor of medicine. He provided several practical tips to the Class of 2015, urging them to come prepared every day emotionally and to remember their basic science they’ve learned. He also told them to be prepared for failure.

“I’m wrong every single day,” Dr. Ledford said. “Remember to guard against arrogance. Stay humble, because no one cares that you know until they know that you care,” Dr. Ledford said.

Also honored were six resident physicians, whose teaching earned each of them the Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award. They are Zuheily Closser, MD, emergency medicine; Jaren Troy, MD, general surgery; Sunil Medidi, MD, internal medicine; Soha Patel, MD, obstetrics and gynecology; Martin Myers, MD, neuropsychiatry; and Sara Saporta, MD, pediatrics.

Then all 128 students stood and recited the Oath of Commitment, promising to fulfill the principles of respect, ethics, compassion, professionalism and gratitude, as family and friends looked on proudly.

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The ceremony, as well as the Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Awards, were provided through a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

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   Dr. Robert Ledford presented the keynote address, as well as gifts, to the students.

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Story by Sarah A. Worth, USF Health Office of Communications

Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications