Published on September 23, 2015 by Katie Stripling  
Young women participating in Nursing White Coat ceremony

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing hosted its annual White Coat Ceremony Sept. 21 in Reid Chapel. Sixty-eight Bachelor of Science in Nursing students who began clinical courses this semester were honored during the event. 

According to nursing dean Eleanor V. Howell, the White Coat Ceremony’s purpose of instilling a commitment to providing compassionate care among future health professionals aligns perfectly with the core values of the school of nursing and the school’s namesake, the late Ida Vines Moffett. Howell noted that Samford nursing students benefit from Mrs. Moffett’s perspective of loving God and loving patients as He did.    

In her address to the students, Howell shared some of Moffett’s words. “Compassion means taking action, taking on some of the patient’s burden yourself. It means giving extra effort and attention to invisible needs. Compassion is a willingness to forgo some of our own comfort for the comfort of others,” she said.   

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 Geri Beers, Cindy Berry, Heidi Callighan, Margaret Findlay, Elaine Marshall and Jan Paine. Assistant professor Jill Hightower led students in the nurse’s poem. 

Dean Howell served as the featured speaker for the event, with accelerated second degree program class president Max Bellmore offering the invocation and Anna Beth Taylor, class chaplain, providing the scripture reading. 

White Coat Ceremonies have long been an important rite of passage at medical schools. In 2014, Samford was 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. This program marked the first coordinated effort to offer White Coat events at schools of nursing. The White Coat Ceremony has become a tradition in the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing with ceremonies occurring each fall and spring.  

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.