Ceremony marks student doctors’ professionalism


The professionalism of student doctors has been recognised in a special ceremony at the University of Leeds’ School of Medicine – the first of its kind in the UK.

The University of Leeds has given its third-year medics the chance to celebrate their success and reflect on the values of the medical profession as they progress through the undergraduate medical degree programme and take on greater levels of responsibility.

"As our students move into their third year, they will start to interact with patients and healthcare teams on a far more regular basis," said Professor Trudie Roberts, Director of the Leeds Institute of Medical Education. "This is a critical time in terms of their professional development and one that should be recognized. The ceremony that we have set up now allows those students to pledge their commitment to the core values of the profession that they are entering."

Over 280 medical students took part in the ceremony, held on 30 September in the University's Great Hall. Together with the Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Arthur, and the Dean of the School of Medicine, Professor David Cottrell, they read the Declaration of Geneva - a declaration of doctors' dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine and a modern equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath.

All students were also given a metal lapel badge showing the School of Medicine's coat of arms. Although US medical students are typically given a white doctor's coat in such ceremonies, these are no longer worn in UK hospitals owing to concerns about infection.

The event was attended by Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the medical journal The Lancet, and by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, chair of the 2005 Royal College of Physicians report Doctors in Society, which recommended that UK medical schools should:  'consider introducing professional values early into the undergraduate medical course by means of a ceremony at which students would pledge their commitment to those values publicly.'

"Staff in the School of Medicine and the Leeds Hospitals NHS Trust have worked hard with major innovations in the curriculum for our undergraduate medical degree that see students working with patients and healthcare teams, with increasing levels of professional responsibility.  This commitment is recognized in the ceremony, and feedback from the students who took part indicates that the ceremony really meant something to them," said Dr Richard Fuller, Director of the undergraduate medicine programme at the University of Leeds. "Students were particularly taken by Baroness Cumberlege's comments that medical practise requires neither altruism nor humility, but that good medical practise requires both"

For more information:

Contact: Paula Gould, University of Leeds Communications & Press Office: Tel 0113 343 8059, email p.a.gould@leeds.ac.uk