Nursing white coat ceremony clinical education rite of passage
Published on Monday, September 19, 2022
By: Annie Oeth, email@example.com
Juniors in the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center donned their white coats for the first time during a Tuesday ceremony, a rite of passage ushering them into the clinical part of their nursing education.
The white coat ceremony for the 102 juniors in the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program was the first held in almost a decade.
On Thursday, students in the School of Nursing’s Class of 2024 began working with patients in clinical settings at UMMC in addition to their classroom- and laboratory-based nursing studies. White coat ceremonies will be held for graduate nursing students Sept. 28 and for students at the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford Oct. 5.
“I’m well-prepared and ready to practice,” said Kiyah Brown. “Caring for patients is exciting. Caring for manikins isn’t the same.”
The white coat, said guest speaker Dr. Derek Holt, assistant professor and director of the School of Nursing’s family nurse practitioner track, “allows you to be easily identified. It is a symbol of peace, purity and honesty.”
The White Coat Ceremony, begun in 1993 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, “is a ritual in which health care students commit to providing high-quality, compassionate and collaborative care,” said Dr. Julie Sanford, dean of the School of Nursing. “By participating in this ceremony, our nursing students take an oath to always provide humanistic patient care.”
In addition to the white coats, students received pins from the Gold Foundation featuring a gold Mobius loop to symbolize the continuous bond of trust, respect and communication connecting nurses to their patients.
As the students donned their white coats one by one, they stopped to sign the School of Nursing’s Student Code for Honorable and Professional Behavior. The code focuses on the core values of respect, excellence, accountability, diversity and integrity.
“The School of Nursing has a vision: ‘Empowering nurse leaders. Transforming health care,’” Holt said. “Nurse leadership is the ability to inspire, influence and motivate health care professionals as they work together to achieve their goals. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted more than ever how important strong leadership is in professional nursing."
For every nursing student, the white coat holds a different meaning, Holt said, “so I want to ask, ‘What does your white coat mean to you?’”
For Chandler Thorton, the white coat “is certainly a milestone for me.”
The ceremony, held at the Norman C. Nelson Student Union, was memorable for the many family members on hand, too.
“This was a very meaningful ceremony,” said James Avdoyan, father of nursing student Addison Avdoyan. “It was very professional. Today Addison’s nursing education just got more real.”