A nursing student’s junior year of college is special – it’s when they begin clinical training and the transition from the classroom into the workplace. This year, more than 100 UNCG nursing students celebrated that turning point with a white coat ceremony.
“The white coat ceremony symbolizes the student’s transition from their non-professional life to their profession, in this case, of nursing,” said Dr. Heidi Krowchuk, UNCG’s associate dean for academic programs. “It’s usually done before they enter their first clinical experience.”
White Coat ceremonies have been a tradition for medical school students for many years, and are now gaining popularity among other medical professions as well. Sponsored by a grant from the Arnold Gold Foundation in cooperation with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care.
The nursing students marched into Aycock Auditorium on Sept. 25 to the sound of a jazz quartet and heard from Nursing School Dean Dr. Robin Remsburg and nursing education clinician Dr. Ernest Grant before the ceremony began.
Dressed in their white clinical outfits, the students went up on stage in groups of five to receive their coats, and then they read the white coat ceremony oath, in which the pledged to “act in a compassionate and trustworthy manner,” “exercise sound professional judgement” and “consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering.”
“Care was the focus,” said Matt Partridge, one of the students who took part in the white coat ceremony. “We’re going to be nurses because we care.”
“They loved it,” Krowchuk said, adding that the students also received School of Nursing baseball caps – as a nod to the traditional capping ceremonies of old.
Partridge said he’s “thrilled” to be moving into the clinical portion of his studies.
“I’m putting the knowledge I just learned to practical use,” he said. “It makes me feel like I’m truly on my way to becoming a nurse.”
By Jeanie Groh
Photograph by Martin Kane