Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
The School of Pharmacy - along with event sponsors, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia - held it's 3rd annual "First Year Student Engagement Ceremony" on Tuesday.
Approximately 340 students filled the PACE Auditorium for the unique and prestigious event, joined by key members of the pharmacy profession, staff, alumni and current students.
The congregation was welcomed by Executive Dean of UQ's Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Nick Fisk, while Ms Liesel Wett - CEO of event sponsors the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia - provided an inspirational keynote address.
The ceremony's concept has been adapted from similar events undertaken in pharmacy (and medical) schools around North America, and sees 1st Year Bachelor of Pharmacy students presented with a white dispensing coat and a written "Statement of Commitment".
Dr Lisa Nissen, an Associate Professor at the School of Pharmacy, and President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (QLD Branch), was instrumental in bringing the event to UQ, having seen similar ceremonies receive positive feedback from students and academics overseas.
"The idea behind the engagement ceremony is to welcome our incoming pharmacy students to not only the school, but importantly to the profession as a whole" Associate Professor Nissen says.
"In a nutshell, the students are given a dispensing coat by the school, followed by the recital of the Statement of Commitment, whereby they promise to uphold the principles of the profession and a focus on health care throughout their university studies and beyond. A number of distinguished guests from the profession and our alumni then shake hands with the students and welcome them to the “family”.
"We see the ceremony as our opportunity to provide the students with some sense of the history, pride and professionalism that is pharmacy and highlight the responsibility and crucial role we play in the community. We hope it will give them a sense of community, as students and as health professionals in training.
"The 'coat' itself is designed to be used as a symbol of professionalism and a commitment to health care provision. Students will wear the coat in the professional components of the course, including in counselling and dispensing tutorials and for their oral exams. It will be an expected requirement for these session and we hope will reinforce some sense of responsibility and accountability in the students.
"Pharmacy is such a wonderful profession, steeped in history and with an exciting and challenging future – this ceremony is to remind the students that they are a critical part of it."
The UQ School of Pharmacy wishes to thank the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia for it's gerenous sponsorship of this event.
Pictured above, right: Professor Nick Shaw and Professor Nick Fisk with 1st year students Katherine Nunn, Saskia van Schie and Elizabeth Macleman.
Pictured below, top: Ms Liesel Wett makes her keynot address to the congregation
Pictured below, bottom: The group stands to read the "Statement of Commitment"