Published on October 8, 2014 by Katie Stripling  

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing hosted its first White Coat Ceremony on Monday, Oct. 6 in Samford’s Reid Chapel. Seventy-two Bachelor of Science in Nursing students who began clinical courses this semester were honored during this historic event.

“This ceremony marks the beginning of a lifetime of giving beyond what is required,” said nursing dean, Eleanor V. Howell in her address to the students. “Compassionate care is a skill you will develop and it will serve you well. Being able to fully give of yourself is the hallmark of service,” she added.

The ceremony included the presentation of a white coat and commemorative pin to each student. The pin serves as a visual reminder of the student’s commitment to providing compassionate, patient-centered care, and of the Nursing Poem recited during the ceremony. Students were presented their coats by faculty and staff members Joy Whatley, Cindy Berry, Elaine Marshall, Jill Hightower and Jan Paine. 

Howell served as the featured speaker for the event, with class president Brianna Canady offering the invocation and Lars Larson, accelerated second degree program chaplain, providing the scripture reading. Following the ceremony students and their guests enjoyed a reception in The Rotunda of the Center for Healing Arts.

White Coat Ceremonies are designed to instill a commitment to providing compassionate care among future health professionals and they have long been an important rite of passage at medical schools. Howell noted. This program marks the first coordinated effort to offer similar events at schools of nursing.  

Samford is one of only 100 nursing schools in 43 states selected by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to pilot White Coat Ceremonies for nursing students. Samford is the only Alabama school selected for the program.

Following the pilot program, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and AACN are planning 2015 to be the inaugural year for the nationwide rollout of the White Coat Ceremony to a larger number of nursing institutions. 

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing  has a rich history as a leader in nursing education, practice and service. The school is founded on the principles and philosophies of legendary nurse Ida Vines Moffett. Graduates from the school have the wisdom, skills and courage to go out into the world and make people’s lives better. The school offers a variety of degree options—traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); Second Degree BSN; Accelerated Second Degree BSN; Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with programs in Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Health Systems Management and Leadership or Nurse Anesthesia; RN to MSN; and Doctor of Nursing Practice. Graduates consistently pass their certification exams at rates far surpassing national averages. In 2014, MSN programs were ranked #24 in the nation for online nursing education by U.S. News & World Report. Over the past 90 years, more than 5,000 nurses have graduated from the school and are practicing throughout the United States and around the world. Visit  to learn more.   

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF): As a growing, international not-for-profit organization we have a critical mission: to optimize the experience and outcomes of health care for both patients and practitioners by promoting care that is as humanistic as it is technologically sophisticated. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation works with physicians and nurses in training and in practice, as well as other members of the healthcare team, to instill a culture of respect, dignity and compassion for both patients and professionals. When skilled practitioners build caring, trusting and collaborative relationships with patients, studies reveal more appropriate medical decisions, better patient adherence with treatment plans, and less costly healthcare outcomes. Learn more at .  

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 750 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. Learn more at


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.