On Wearing a White Coat

It is a privilege to wear a white coat. It is a universal sign of care and the advocacy of total wellness. The receipt of my white coat was, undoubtedly, an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. However, I had no idea that those feelings could be rivaled, let alone beat. This happened for the first time in the hospital when the emotions I experienced after wearing my white coat left an unparalleled mark on my heart. The trust that other medical professionals had in my intent was evident as my path and aim was never questioned. The assurance patients and their family members had in me was awe-inspiring and propelled me to use poetry as the paintbrush to illustrate a portrait of my experience.

I’ve never owned a coat that means so much.

I never had to wear trust before.

At no point, ever, in my life did a garment feel so light and so heavy simultaneously.

There is responsibility woven into this fabric.

Have you ever worn hope?

It looks like a face painted with the warmth and illumination a ray of sunshine brings following a storm.

There is comfort on my sleeve.

There aren’t many people who get to don truth

It is without a doubt, a theoretical expectation of us all. However, when entrusted with the life of another, it is demanded.

But, delivery of said verity is an exquisite dance between piercing facticity and a soft countenance.

There is tact within these seams.

Who gets to garment disappointment?

Inevitably being charged with announcing a loved one’s quietus whilst uttering a coined phrase like “We did all we could” makes this my charge.

There is sorrow in my hem.

It is not the coat or the title of “Doctor”, itself that is monumental in the art of practicing medicine.

Instead, it is the privilege of walking through someone’s illness with them.


Keiko Cooley

I am originally from Gary, IN and relocated to South Carolina in August of 2010 to attend Claflin University majoring first in the arts and subsequently changing to Biochemistry. It was during my matriculation at Claflin University that I learned of USCSOMG and made my decision to be trained through this program. I am excited and fortunate to have been chosen to be a member of the Class of 2021.

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