School of Health Professions

Respiratory Care Class of 2024 receives white coats

Respiratory Care Class of 2024 poses during White Coat Ceremony


Fifty bachelor’s and master’s respiratory care students received their white coats this month in ceremony symbolizing the transition from classroom to clinical rotations.

“The white coat ceremony is always a special event on our academic calendar as it marks the point at which our students enter clinical practice and begin changing patients’ lives for the better,” said Division of Respiratory Care Program Director and Associate Professor Richard Wettstein, MMEd, RRT, FAARC, FCCP.

For master’s student Raul Wilshire, the Feb. 3 ceremony was an affirmation of the profession he has chosen.

“It felt reassuring and empowering,” Wilshire said. “Respiratory therapists really hadn’t gotten as much recognition until the pandemic, and getting our white coats shows that we are valid and important members of the health care team.”

Wilshire decided to become a respiratory therapist because he wants a career that allows him to work with patients directly.

“I had been doing academic research, and I realized that while that is very important, my passion is wanting to be face-to-face with people, having a more direct impact on a daily basis with patients,” he said.

Wilshire appreciates the real-world experience he is gaining in his first clinical rotation.

“We’re finally getting a taste of what our true career is going to be,” he said. “We are there working with the RTs who are established, and we are getting that patient interaction.”

At the same event, 12 students from the Class of 2023 and one faculty member were inducted into the Lambda Beta Society, a national honor society for the respiratory care profession.

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