White Coat Ceremony




Every year, first-year pharmacy students, accompanied by their family members, fellow students, faculty and staff, members of the pharmacy community and government participate in the School of Pharmacy’s White Coat Ceremony.


The purpose of the White Coat Ceremony is to formally welcome pharmacy students to the School and indoctrinate them into the pursuit of the pharmacy profession. During the ceremony, we will review the traditions and goals of the profession, and the significance of the pharmacy profession in providing for a healthy society.

2024 was our 18th anniversary of the White Coat Ceremony!

The event culminates each year with the recitation of the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board (NLPB)'s Code of Ethics, and the School of Pharmacy's Pledge of Professionalism

Honorary White Coat

The presentation of donning an honorary white coat began in 2016 as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of the White Coat Ceremony.

The pharmacy profession has evolved exponentially in recent years. But pharmacy would not be where it is today without history—the foundation of the present and future. Recipients of the Honorary White Coat have been practicing for decades and exhibit the qualities and dedication to the profession that we hope our students will display. Each year, a pharmacist presents the honour to the new recipient.

Leaders. Mentors. Inspirations. 

Honorary White Coat recipients have significantly advanced the profession, the health-care system, and improved patients' and the population's quality of life.

They are the trailblazers.

Our Honorary White Coat recipient, who was recognized at our 2024 ceremony, was Brenda Bursey. We celebrated Ms. Bursey in a tradition that celebrates trailblazers who have helped advance the pharmacy profession in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A little bit about Ms. Bursey:

For over 20 years the main focus of Brenda’s practice has been treatment of opioid addiction. She is a strong supporter of the Opioid Agonist Maintenance Treatment (OAMT) program and a fierce advocate for those suffering with mental health illness and/or addiction. Brenda was the pharmacy representative on the founding committee for methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in the province, the Methadone Maintenance Regional Advisory Council, which was instrumental in opening the Opioid Treatment Centre in Pleasantville. Having served on the provincial MMT committee, the provincial Methadone Advisory committee, and the NLPB Practice Advisory Working Group on the Methadone Maintenance Program, Brenda is at the forefront in this area of practice.

In addition, Brenda assisted at the School of Pharmacy in the methadone lab portion of the curriculum and as a guest speaker in the area of addiction, always being accompanied by one of her patients. Brenda spent many afternoons at junior high schools speaking about drugs and addiction, in addition to speaking at teacher in-service programs on the subject. She accompanied the RCMP to high schools outside St. John’s to bring awareness to the dangers of drugs. Brenda also assisted the RNC in training new recruits on OAMT as well as being a resource for both the RNC and RCMP when the need arose.

Brenda is a past board member at NPhA and CPhA and past Vice-President of PANL. She was also the pharmacy representative on the first Primary Healthcare committee. 

Currently, Brenda advocates for the profession through the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL) as a member of the board, chair of the association's Economics Committee, and member of the Government Relations Committee. She also serves as a PANL representative on the Pharmaceutical Services Liaison committee, and the Provincial Opioid Dependence Treatment Network with the Provincial Government. 

During the past 15+ years Brenda has also focused on expanding the scope of practice for NL pharmacists. Through her work with PANL, she was very involved in PANL’s successful negotiation for increased scope and universal funding. This includes medication reviews, prescription extensions, universal flu and COVID vaccination program, SaferMedsNL and, most recently, assessment for minor ailments, Paxlovid and post-exposure prophylaxis, and NLPDP’s Biosimilar Initiative. Brenda continues to be very involved in this area and it is her mission to see pharmacists’ practicing to full scope.

Past Honorary White Coat recipients:

2016 recipient: Dwight Ball
2017 recipient: Don Rowe
2018 recipient: David Collins
2019 recipient: Arlene Crane
2020 recipient: Dr. Linda Hensman
2022 recipient: Christina Tulk
2023 recipient: Margot Priddle
2024 recipient: Brenda Bursey