The "White Coat Ceremony" at the JKU MED Campus

187 medical students took part in the JKU’s “White Coat Ceremony”, symbolically slipping on the white coats that signifies entrance into the medical profession.

The 2023 White Coat Ceremony; photo credit: JKU
The 2023 White Coat Ceremony; photo credit: JKU

Considered a ‘rite of passage’ and practiced as a rich tradition at medical universities around the world, after four successful semesters in which medical students have learned the basics of medicine, the clinical part of their training now follows at the Kepler University Hospital and at other teaching hospitals at the JKU’s Faculty of Medicine.

Mag. Elgin Drda, JKU Vice-Rector for Medicine and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, remarked: "Today is a significantly special day for our medical students as the presentation of the white coat marks the beginning of a new phase. These students will take on tremendous responsibility as they start their clinical training. The white coat is more than just a work uniform at the clinic, it also symbolizes science, medical expertise, and a professional ethos; students will shoulder a high level of professional responsibility at the start of their clinical training. Approximately 500 physicians and course instructors are passing on what they know in the medical degree program and in this way, they are encouraging our students to build on this foundation and break new ground."

As for the white coat’s significance, during her address, Univ. Prof. Dr. Susanna Zierler (assistant dean at the Faculty of Medicine) commented: "The white coat to represent an external symbol of professional expertise, a trusting relationship with patients, and taking responsibility seriously, yet never as a sign of 'loftiness'. The white coat also reinforces a strong bond, creating communities that support each other."

JKU Austrian Student Union president, Philipp Bergsmann, remarked: "The white coat shows that medical students are ready to take on the responsibilities of everyday medical practices while still at university, to then eventually become a key cornerstone of the healthcare system."

Agnes Kraxberger, a medical student, added: "We intend to celebrate today because once again, this day signifies that we are on the right path. We can be proud that we are one step closer to our dream of becoming a physician."

Deputy Governor Mag. Christine Haberlander sent words of encouragement and her congratulations: "We here in Upper Austria are working to meet a major goal, namely to ensure that people in our state can lead a good, healthy life. As highly trained physicians are a part of the foundation, this is why we are investing in our state's medical future and building a modern medical faculty in Austria. We aim to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. I am delighted for each and every student who decides to study medicine at the JKU in Linz. The shortage of physicians means there is great amount of responsibility and this an important step for medicine in the future."

The JKU’s Faculty of Medicine is currently educating a total of approximately 1,500 students. At the beginning of October, 310 new students enrolled to study medicine after passing the entrance examination. Taught as part of a Bachelor’s/Master’s system, the program focuses on the basics of medicine in accordance with organ-centered and subject-centered principles, setting new technical standards in this regard. The JKU medSPACE gives students a unique opportunity to explore human anatomy in three-dimensional images.