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.