A big milestone is coming this weekend for second-year LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine students.

According to a news release from the med school, 188 members of the Class of 2018 will receive their white coats at a special ceremony this weekend. The white coat is a symbol of the medical profession and its scientific connection.

The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes a rite of passage for these students as they transition from classroom to clinical learning. During the ceremony, students will be cloaked in a short, white coat and presented their 'Humanism in Medicine' pins. Alumni who are now faculty members perform the ceremony.

There's a new element for this year -- the White Coat Note. Alumni have written words of wisdom to be randomly placed in the pocket of a student's white coat. And for the first time, donations from medical alumni are being used to purchase the coats for the students.

"The hope is to enhance an already treasured tradition by providing a meaningful connection between past and future LSU Health medical graduates," said Director of Alumni Relations Bridget Verret.

Where did the white coat originate? We got this info in a news release:

The white coat originated in scientific laboratories and was adopted as the standard of dress by physicians in the late 19th century. Not only is it a symbol of the profession, it also has practical purposes, serving as a repository for information, instruments and reference materials. It is a longstanding tradition for students to wear the short white coats, while most physicians wear full-length white coats. This differentiation also helps patients identify the role of each member of the healthcare team.

The White Coat Ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Riverview Theater on Clyde Fant Parkway. We wish the best of luck to our future doctors.

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