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College’s Physician Assistant Students Transition Into Clinical Phase

Pennsylvania College of Technology physician assistant students were given new white coats at a July 23 ceremony, symbolizing the start of a clerkship period in which they will work directly with patients and learn alongside trained clinicians. (Photo by Michael S. Fischer, student photographer) Pennsylvania College of Technology’s physician assistant program held its first Induction to Clinical Clerkship White Coat Ceremony on July 23, marking an important transition for third-year students from classroom to practice-based education.

Program director Joseph Mileto Jr. welcomed students, parents and fellow faculty to the event, held in the Thompson Professional Development Center on the college’s main campus in Williamsport.

“I have watched you each progress over the past year,” he told students, assuring them they are well-prepared for the road ahead, “and I am proud how far you have come.” As it moves forward, the Class of 2011 will spend the majority of its time learning in clinical settings, applying skills by administering care to real patients.

The “amazing” transformation from student to practitioner was addressed by keynote speaker Dr. William B. Urosevich, retired professor of biology (anatomy and physiology) at Penn College, who added that medical training is a challenging time with much to learn and digest.

The new senior physician assistant students gathered with their families, guests, faculty members and the program director to formally receive “the white coat” the cloak of their future profession, a milestone in the education of a physician assistant student and emblematic of entry into clinical medicine.

Penn College patch adorns white coats presented to physician assistant students.“The coat is a symbolic transition from basic sciences to more patient-related care,” explained Paula D. Holmes, clinical director of the college’s physician assistant program. “It’s more of a cloak of compassion that we expect students to take on in the role, which is more involved with patient care than it has been in the first three years of school.”

The students will become part of the legacy of hundreds of Penn College physician assistant alumni whose contributions to medical science have resulted in advances that have expanded the boundaries of knowledge, alleviated untold suffering and saved the lives of countless individuals, Holmes said.

Mileto and Urosevich furnished each participant with a pin that symbolizes the program’s mission, a shared commitment to providing compassionate and competent patient care.

At the ceremony’s conclusion, Holmes led the physician assistant students in recitation of their professional oath, acknowledging their promise “to maintain the honor and commitment to patient care, compassion and professionalism.”

For more about the School of Health Sciences, visit online or call 570-327-4519. For general information about Penn College, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.