McGill University’s School of Physical & Occupational Therapy (SPOT) recently recognized the 2022 cohort of occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) professional program students for successfully reaching the milestone of the Name-Tag ceremony. The ceremony is considered the SPOT equivalent of Engineering’s Iron-Ring ceremony and Medicine’s White Coat ceremony, marking the transition from classroom learning to clinical experience. Faculty and staff are very proud to celebrate this transition with the students each year, and were delighted to be able to honour the students’ milestone in person for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Several guest speakers addressed the attendees, with poise and passion.

Laurie M. Snider, PhD, SPOT Director and Associate Dean, welcomed the assembled students with a reminder of the symbolic value of the event. “This Name-Tag Ceremony represents a fundamental milestone on your journey towards the goal to become occupational therapists and physical therapists. Your journey began in the classroom where you learned important foundation knowledge, assessment tools and practical skills.”


Physiotherapist, Joseph Kaldas advised that the students should, “Really listen to the answers our patients offer us to the deceptively simple questions of our assessment. If we take the time to listen well enough, our patients may not only reveal their diagnosis but also may provide interesting insights into treatment options.”

Occupational Therapist, Karla Jacobsen, gently reminded the students that, “It is near impossible to be fully present for others, your clients, patients, colleagues, family and friends, if you are not fully present for yourself. Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Student representatives from the two programs provided their views on the transition to clinical practice. Charles Bazerghi (PT student) advised his classmates that rather than focusing on what they didn’t yet know, to, “Flip the script and acknowledge everything we’ve learned and everything we do know. Let’s be confident in our hard-earned knowledge and skills and appreciate our budding expertise.” Labib Syed (OT student) reflected on the feeling of missing his classmates as he prepares to go into clinic, “This is the first time I won’t be sitting next to all of you in class, working together on solving questions and challenges… I think the past years have prepared us all to be the best we can be.”

Support from the leadership of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences remains one of the important keys to the success of SPOT students. Samuel Benaroya, MDCM, Associate Vice-Principal of Health Affairs and Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, also spoke to the students and assembled faculty members and staff. Thanks to the Faculty’s support and stellar leadership in navigating the many challenges we all faced these past two years SPOT has been able to deliver on the educational promise made to the students and the broader communities served by the School. Dr. Benaroya plays a seminal role overseeing all external Hospital Affairs and the RUISSS McGill for the Faculty, and as such works closely with SPOT in fostering and supporting effective relationships with clinical partners.

Link to event photos:

Photo Credit: Owen Egan and Joni Dufour