For 78 nursing students, white coat ceremony symbolizes start of careers

Group of nursing students pose with their white coats in Berger Hall.

With the oath to patient care and the presentation of their white coats, 78 nursing students in the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences took the symbolic step to start their paths to careers in compassionate patient care during the White Coat Ceremony Jan. 27 in Berger Hall.

“This ceremony serves as an important rite of passage into the healthcare profession for our nursing students and that it brings to their forethought the values of excellence, compassion, collaboration and caring in their nursing practice,” said Deborah Pollard, associate professor and chair of the Department of Nursing.

The students from the two undergraduate nursing options received their coats from faculty in front of their invited families and friends. The Gold Foundation provided a pin for each student, and a personal note from faculty members were in each coat. Last year’s nursing class was the first to participate in the event.

Four students pose for a group picture after the White Coat Ceremony.

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Arnold P. Gold, M.D., 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.

“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.