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White Coat Ceremony held for nursing students

Published Sept. 20, 2018

Kitty DeGree School of Nursing hosted its inaugural White Coat Ceremony, a rite of passage to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of training.

Lauren Welch, a senior nursing student and Student Nursing Association officer delivered the invocation. In her speech, she reminded students “you are transitioning from typical college students to taking on the role of a professional nursing student … you will now be held to higher standards within the school, clinical facilities, and the community.”
kids putting on coats

Dr. Wendy Bailes, Interim Director of Kitty DeGree School of Nursing, in speaking with the students and families, reminded students that in this age of social media and texting, they will learn the power of communicating face to face with people as they establish a continuous bond of trust with their patients.

Sixty-one new students recited an oath to patient care.

Students came forward during the ceremony to be “cloaked” by their semester one faculty (Sandy Bailey, Sandra Ogg, Kathy Davenport, Vonda Boone, Katherine Dixon, Kim Allen) before family and friends in the iconic white coat that signifies their status as healthcare professionals.

The keynote speech was given by DeeDee Cook, BSN, RN (1986 alumnus)

Cook challenged students to set their standards high as they moved through their education and beyond graduation. She encouraged them to be lifelong learners in the ever changing healthcare field.

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Arnold P. Gold, MD, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic healthcare, believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late. Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.

Funding for Kitty DeGree School of Nursing’s inaugural ceremony was provided by the Gold Foundation through the generous support of its trustee and donor Elaine Adler. Kitty DeGree School of Nursing was among 50 nursing schools selected in 2018 to launch their first White Coat Ceremony.

Today, nearly every medical school in the United States, hundreds of nursing schools, and many other health profession schools around the globe participate in this tradition of humanistic care.

“The trust and communication created with a patient is a defining factor in the path to healing,” said Dr. Richard Levin, President and CEO of The Gold Foundation. “The White Coat Ceremony reinforces the importance of a deep human connection as students begin their journey to patients and modern healthcare.”

The Gold Foundation champions the human connection in healthcare. The foundation engages schools and their students, health systems, companies, and individual clinicians in the joy and meaning of humanistic healthcare, so that patients and their families can be partners in collaborative, compassionate and scientifically excellent care.

For more information about the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Foundation, visit www.gold-foundation.org.