The Chronicle: When do medical students get their first white coat and stethoscope?
Samara Jinks: We get them in two parts. The white coats themselves we get officially at the “White Coat Ceremony.” Although some schools do it differently, at the beginning of the year, before classes start even, your family is invited to a private function where the students present their oath. It’s similar to giving a speech at school. The entire class is divided into four groups, each groups writes their own oath, and then we deliver our oaths to our parents. We are given some leniency when drafting the oath itself.
Regarding the stethoscope they leave it up to when we need them. Our advisors will just tell us when you need them by and our class does a bulk order. We arrange it ourselves, but some people actually already have one. A couple of my classmates have one’s passed down to them from either physicians they know, formal employers or family members.
TC: How did you feel when you first put on that white coat?
SJ: The coast itself is light, but it comes with a heavy burden. When you walk into a room with the white coat, people are immediately looking at you as in a position of authority. People are then apt to tell you things that they wouldn’t even tell their own mothers. I think when you first get it there is this initial mixture of excitement and responsibility.
TC: Do any professors or doctors have a signature piece of clothing that they like to wear during an operation, like a lucky bandanna or something?
SJ: Well I am reminded the episode of “Scrubs” where Turk has a “Hot Sauce” Bandana. As far as I know, I haven’t met anyone thus far, that’s not to say that there aren’t any who wear anything special or have any good luck charms. One of my classmates has a stethoscope that was passed down from his grandmother who was a physician. So maybe family-owned stethoscopes for some people, but I’m not sure about articles of clothing.
TC: What's your favorite spot to eat at near the medical school?
SJ: Chick-fil-a hands down. I’m from Atlanta so Chick-fil-a is a staple. Coming from Washington D.C. where they were few and far between, the Chick-fil-a in the food court was a welcome surprise. They had it in they food court in my high school back home. We had chicken and biscuits every morning because it was great and cheap.
TC: Would you ever wear your scrubs outside of the hospital to, say, the grocery store or to a party?
SJ: I don’t know about a party, I feel like that would be a bit obnoxious. Most of my friends are medical students so it wouldn’t be that impressive to walk up in your scrubs. As far as wearing them outside the hospital, so far the only time we really wear our scrubs is when we have anatomy labs, so if you see me in my scrubs you might want to keep your distance because it means I probably haven’t showered and probably smell like formaldehyde. For the general public, it’s probably good that we change out of our scrubs because formaldehyde has a habit to stick to your hair. If you are a girl with long hair, your going to want to shower and get out of your scrubs as soon as you can.
TC: Is there anything that is unique about Duke's medical school?
SJ: Something that I thought was great about Duke was the budgeted candy supply that is in the administrative budget for the Medical School. This allows the mass consumption of candy that the admission and dean’s office provides for us. When you go into the admission office there is an M&M's machine that dispenses candy when you stick your hand under it. If you are about to go to lecture, people will pop M&Ms on the way to class. One of the advisory deans is a pediatrician and he probably has the best candy.