Covenant Health recently hosted a “White Coat Ceremony” at the Knoxville Convention Center for 45 medical students from Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. The ceremony is a traditional way of welcoming the next generation of physicians and marks the beginning of the LMU students’ clinical rotations at Covenant Health hospitals.
The white coats represent a bridge between medical school and the new experience of rigorous work in a clinical atmosphere. The students’ coats are embroidered with their names and a Covenant Health logo.
The new class of medical students is the largest group to date in Covenant Health’s clinical training partnership with LMU-DCOM. Under the direct supervision of physicians, the medical students will interview and examine patients, review clinical information, make hospital rounds, participate in interdisciplinary team meetings, practice appropriate documentation and perform procedures.
The three core rotation sites for the program are Cumberland Medical Center in Crossville, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge and Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System in Morristown. New this year, a fourth site was added at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in downtown Knoxville. Many students will also undergo clinical training at several Covenant Medical Group physician practices.
In addition to the white coat presentation, the luncheon event included remarks from several Covenant Health and LMU-DCOM leaders. They spoke to the students about the transformative experience of being a medical student at this time in history.
Covenant Health has partnered with LMU-DCOM to offer clinical rotations and hands-on experience for medical students since 2016. Two of the speakers, now Covenant Health leaders, are graduates of the LMU-DCOM program: Paul Swafford, DO, FACOI, physician advisor, and John Lewis, DO, director of student medical education.
Students also heard from Christopher Loyke, DO, dean and chief administrative officer of LMU-DCOM. “There is no better partner for this program than Covenant Health. I am pleased you will be a part of this longstanding, steadfast relationship,” he told them. “Embrace every task as a learning experience, as there is value in every moment.”
Pete DeBusk, LMU chairman of the Board of Trustees and co-founder of LMU-DCOM, addressed the changes in the health care industry. He said, “As these inevitable changes arise there will be challenges, but there will also be opportunities. Make good connections and enjoy the experiences you will have. Go with your passion in medicine and figure out what you want to do. I’m proud of all of you.”
Mark Browne, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Covenant Health, talked about creating a culture of excellence. He encouraged the students to go forward being keen listeners, empathetic communicators and advocates for all patients. “At Covenant Health we pledge to put the patient first, we pledge excellence in everything we do, and we pledge to be the first and best choice in healthcare. And now, you are all part of that environment, and can help carry that responsibility in your year ahead.”
The students will graduate from the clinical program in 2024.