The online graduation ceremony of 175 new medical doctors from Trinity took place this afternoon, with congratulations from the Taoiseach.
The graduates watched the virtual ceremony online in their homes. The students are graduating early so that additional medical doctors can be placed in hospitals to combat the coronavirus.
In a recorded message, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “We live in interesting times and we need you to graduate early because there is so much work to be done as we battle this virus and try to keep the country generally well.”
“Everything we do in the next few months,” he continued, “will hinge on having a well-functioning health service, staffed by people like you.”
Trinity’s medical class of 2020 had their final clinical examinations brought forward by five weeks on advice from infectious disease experts, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The online exams were held on March 11, rather than in April.
The exam content was reduced, from multiple cases to one longer case, while the timing of the exam was also shortened and the weighting of the exam reduced from 50% to 25%.
The Taoiseach has already promised more than 1,000 internships for medical graduates in Ireland this year, meaning all of Trinity’s medical graduates will be offered an internship here.
Addressing students from overseas directly, the Taoiseach appealed to them to return to Ireland to work in the medical field. “Yes, travel, get experience, but please do come back. We want you and we’re going to need you,” he said.
The new graduates are being asked to self-isolate for two weeks from May 3 with a view to starting induction on May 18 and beginning work in hospitals on May 25.
Trinity held other online graduation ceremonies in April, following the closure of college in March due to the pandemic.