BANGOR – First year students at Husson University’s School of Pharmacy were officially welcomed with a rite of passage on Sunday.
The pharmacy class of 2022 donned white coats in a symbolic ceremony. Held at pharmacy schools across the country, the white coat ceremony marks their right to pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree.
“It’s second only to graduation in terms of the importance to family and to friends,” said Dean Rhonda Waskiewicz, Ed.D., OTR (ret.), from Husson University’s School of Pharmacy.
Thirty-three Husson first-years put on their white coats and took “The Oath of a Pharmacist”, vowing to follow the highest standard of ethical practice.
Originally from Illinois, one of the first year students said the small class sizes drew him to Husson.
“I’ve always enjoyed being able to know my professors on a personal level, or at least be able to recognize them, and then them being able to recognize me,” said Edward Jobst, “and I feel that that is absolutely imperative to a good learning experience.”
The pharmacy class of 2022 is unique in that it has the most students from Maine they’ve seen, with 73 percent of students being from the state. School officials said students from Maine tend to stay and work in healthcare in Maine.
“We’re pretty excited about the fact that we have the opportunity to give back to Maine at that level,” said Dean Waskiewicz.
She said a pharmacy degree prepares students to fully understand the science behind all the medicines that doctors and nurses are prescribing.
For students, Jobst said it’s a way for them to help people when primary care providers are becoming harder to find.
“I want to be the face in the community,” said Jobst. “I want people to walk by and say ‘Ed’s the reason my mom’s diabetes is under control'”.
And as their friends and family cheer them on, those behind the program said this is just the beginning.
“As healthcare in the country itself changes and morphs, they’re going to become more vital,” said Dean Waskiewicz.