Einstein’s third-year medical students were in good spirits as they filled Robbins Auditorium for their Transition Ceremony, celebrating their journey from the classroom to the clinics.
Once everyone was settled, a gong announced the entrance of Drs. Stephen Baum, Allison Ludwig, Joshua Nosanchuk and other members of the office of student affairs dressed as characters from Harry Potter. Dumbledore, otherwise known as Dr. Baum, senior associate dean for students, welcomed everyone to Hogwarts. He compared the transition to the wards as exciting and scary a journey as leaving platform nine-and-three-quarters to go to the fantastical school for wizards. He also advised the students that, in this instance, the only "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" would be themselves — if they allowed themselves to become distracted or failed to respect all members of their clinical teams.
Next, Dr. Nosanchuk, as Harry Potter, acknowledged the transition to the wards as a major milestone to becoming physicians. He described the first year of clerkships as "the most fabulous year of your training," and assured the students that "Faculty, administration, Drs. Baum, Ludwig and I, and Ms. Christina Chin, assistant director of the office, will be there to guide, advise and mentor you."
The Harry Potter theme resonated with student Matthew Barbery who acknowledged the "mystique" of the journey upon which he and his classmates would soon begin, noting "It’s the uncertainty that causes us to question how much we know."
A keynote video presentation, featuring the late Dr. Sharon Sibinger, was aimed at assuaging some of this uncertainty. Titled, "Everything You Wanted to Know about the Clinical Years but Were Afraid to Ask," the video was first shown at the 2012 ceremony. "It was so good," said Dr. Baum, "we had to show it again."
In the video, Dr. Silbiger talked to a group of third-year students about what they wished they had known before heading to the wards; to some fourth-year students and residents about what they had learned from taking care of patients; and to several patients, who described what they want from their doctors.
Next, after Dr. Edward R. Burns, executive dean, offered the Prayer of Maimonides, Dr. Steven Sparr, provided some serious levity, reciting "Transition Slam," a poem about clerkship that he wrote and performed in entertaining "slam" style. To set the mood, he took off his jacket and donned a beret and aviator glasses. He credited Einstein alumnus Dr. Noé Romo with introducing him to the performance-style poetry.
To close the event, fourth-year students Alex Satin and Jared Winoker shared insights based on their experiences. They advised the third-years to "be the kind of doctor you hope would take care of your mom or grandmother." Dr. Elizabeth Kitsis then led the class of 2015 in the recitation of their class oath, which was drafted by the students at the start of their medical education. The magical evening concluded with a barbecue in the courtyard.
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