Medical school has officially begun for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine’s class of 2016.

“I’m just really excited to get started and get my white coat and get it a little bit dirty and I just look forward to being the best physician that I can be,” said first year medical student Randi Olds.

“It’s really unreal just to finally reach this moment in your career whey you get the white coat and you really feel like you’re entering medical school and starting your journey into medicine,” said Kelcy Higa, who is also about to start his first year at JABSOM.

The journey for these medical students started a long time ago but they reached a significant milestone at the school’s white coat ceremony Friday, July 20, 2012. It’s a ritual marking the beginning of medical school.

JABSOM goes to great lengths to impress the professional responsibilities upon the doctors to be.

“Each of your patients is a unique person,” said JABSOM Dean Jerris R. Hedges. “Listen. Learn to listen. Understand and be compassionate.”

The 66 students of this class were chosen from a field of 1,600 applicants and 58 of them are from Hawaiʻi. A handful of them are on their way to becoming second-generation doctors.

“It was special because my dad was there with me and I am just looking forward to getting started,” said medical student Jonathon Lo. His father Samuel Lo is a long-time doctor.

“See him growing up and going through this and following in my footsteps, it’s really truly different emotionally,” said Samual Lo.

After the new medical students received their white coats and stethoscopes, they took the Hippocratic Oath. JABSOM stresses the importance of the doctor patient relationship, to be excellent in science and compassion, and that physicians should care as well as cure.

“All the hard work and it’s almost like it’s finally paying off,” said Olds. “It symbolizes that we are about to be physicians. We’re just really excited.”

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