Medical students in their fourth year at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) celebrated commencement on May 13 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno. One of the most anticipated days of the year for these new physicians, commencement marks the beginning of the professional careers for each of the 70 graduates.
During the event, a Hooding Ceremony celebrated the completion of the class of 2022’s undergraduate medical education in preparation for their graduation from UNR Med with the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). The 70 students each received their diploma and then recited the Physician’s Oath as a public declaration of their continued dedication to the field of medicine.
Based on the Oath of Hippocrates, written more than 2,500 years ago, the physician’s oath encompasses a personal pledge to ethical practices, a commitment to care for all patients, and a promise to honor the traditions of medical education. The graduates repeated a modified version of the oath, which the World Medical Association adopted in 2017 at this year’s graduation ceremony.
While the physician’s oath, also known as the Declaration of Geneva, is known for its introductory statement, “The health and well-being of my patient will be my first consideration,” the updated oath, recited by the UNR Med Class of 2022 at their hooding ceremony on May 13, includes new language: “I will attend to my own health, well-being, and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.”
“Oaths have the power to influence,” said Melissa Piasecki, M.D., Acting Dean. “They can guide our ethical decision-making and behaviors. They make us accountable to ourselves and each other. If we change an oath, we can change what we do and how we do it.”
Kyler Smith, a second-year UNR Med student researching clinical ethics, reached out to Dr. Piasecki with a proposal to include the new language at the UNR Med Class of 2022 Hooding Ceremony, which prompted discussion about making the change.
“Reported burnout in medicine is high, and we need to pay attention to this new language on well-being,” Dr. Piasecki said. “The language in this oath matters because bringing our best abilities to patient care requires self-care. That is the key that unlocks our least biased, most complete, best selves.”
This year’s commencement speaker was Dr. Gillian Schmitz, MD, an emergency physician and associate professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC). A nationally renowned educator and leader, Dr. Schmitz serves on the National Board of Directors for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
A Healthy Nevada is UNR Med’s vision, and expanding and retaining Nevada’s physician workforce is critical to the school’s community-based and community-engaged curriculum model. According to the Office of Statewide Initiatives’ Health Workforce in Nevada report, Nevada continues to confront widespread shortages of physicians in areas such as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, and more.
This year’s graduating class follows UNR Med’s reputation of placing graduates in some of the country’s most competitive residency programs, including those in Reno and Las Vegas, with students pursuing a variety of specializations. The location of resident training is a significant predictor of where physicians will establish their medical practices after completing residency. It has substantial implications for future physician availability in a specific area. Almost half of UNR Med students matched in primary care, including family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology.
Residency programs and specialties of the Class of 2022 are posted online.
Established in 1969, UNR Med, Nevada’s first public medical school has educated more than 3,500 students, residents, and fellows.
To see the Class of 2022 Doctor of Medicine Academic Hooding Ceremony and learn about the residency programs and specialties of the Class of 2022, visit med.unr.edu/events/graduation.