School of Health Professions

Respiratory Care first-year students slip into white coats for the first time

Respiratory Care Class of 2025 poses at white coat ceremony


Donning her white coat was a moment to savor for first-year Respiratory Care Master of Science student Brianna Guerin.

“The whole purpose of the white coat ceremony is to celebrate us moving from the didactic setting to the clinical setting. A lot of people got more emotional than we thought it would be,” said Guerin, vice-president of the Class of 2025. “This is a big turning point for us.”

The 35 bachelor’s and master’s students in the Respiratory Care Class of 2025 received their white coats in the Feb. 9 ceremony, which was held in the Holly Auditorium. In addition to symbolizing the transition from the classroom to clinical rotations, the white coat is a reminder of the responsibility that goes with caring for patients, Kristina Ramirez, MPH, RRT, RRT-ACCS, FCCP, assistant professor and director of clinical education in the Department of Respiratory Care, told the students and guests in her remarks.

This is an immense responsibility, and soon you will be caring for the most intimate aspects of a person: their health. In terms of personal satisfaction, there is none greater than being able to care for another human being. Respiratory care is a rewarding career,” Ramirez said.

Following the white coat ceremony, 12 second-year students and one faculty member were inducted into Lambda Beta, the respiratory therapy profession’s honor society. To be considered for induction, students must have completed 50% of their coursework and be in the top 25% of their class, said Thomas J. Stokes, Jr., MA, RRT, assistant professor in the Department of Respiratory Care and Lambda Beta adviser. Eight of this year’s inductees have a 4.0 GPA, he said.

Recognizing students who achieve at a high level in a rigorous program benefits the profession, Stokes said.

“We are trying to advance our profession,” he said. “We need to be graduating advanced degree therapists. We need to show a difference in our program, a difference in the level of student we graduate, and there can be no better way to show that than to have a distinguished group of graduates.”

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