White coat ceremony as a professional identity formation activity in a United States family medicine residency program
Bidwell JL, Robinson MW, de Grandville C, Santana E, Simpson D. White coat ceremony as a professional identity formation activity in a United States family medicine residency program. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development. 2016;3:33–37. doi:10.4137/JMECD.S30308.
Introduction: White coat ceremonies (WCCs) in medical school mark the transition of students to medicine, beginning their professional identity formation as a physician. However, a literature/web search revealed a paucity of residency-focused WCCs.
Methods: A 90-minute Family Medicine Residency (FM) WCC was designed to support residents’ professional identity formation as a specialty physician. Through faculty narratives and brief histories of the white coat and the specialty, the WCC concludes with new residents donning their specialty embroidered white coats. A brief e-survey was sent to attendees, and WCC leaders were debriefed to determine the value and key elements of WCC.
Results: Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents (34/43) agreed that the WCC is an important transition event for residents’ identity while reaffirming FM values for faculty/staff. WCC leaders identified critical steps for initiating a WCC.
Conclusion: A resident WCC formally marks the transition to specialty physician identity.
Lessons Learned: Ceremony structure will evolve over time.