Published on March 9, 2018 by Katie Stripling  
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Samford University’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing hosted its biannual White Coat Ceremony recently in Samford’s Brock Recital Hall. Thirty-five Bachelor of Science in Nursing students who began clinical courses in the spring semester were honored during the event. Students represented the traditional B.S.N. and the veterans’ B.S.N. programs. 

According to nursing dean and vice provost of the College of Health Sciences, Nena F. Sanders, 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. 

In her address to the students, Sanders emphasized that the white coat symbolizes an answer to a calling. “Nursing is more than a job—it is a calling to put others’ needs before your own,” she said. Sanders referred to the ceremony as a “hallmark” in their life of a nursing student and she urged the students to remember this moment as they begin carrying out the Moffett legacy of compassionate patient care. 

The ceremony included the presentation of a white coat and commemorative pin to each student. The pin serves as a visual reminder of the students’ 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, Cynthia Ritter, Jennifer Steele and Angela Wilson.  Assistant professor, Moniaree Jones, led students in the nurse’s poem. 

Sanders served as the featured speaker for the event, with class president Allison Shrake offering the invocation and Allison Horne, class chaplain, providing the scripture reading. Professor Ellen Buckner provided closing remarks. 

White Coat Ceremonies have long been an important rite of passage at medical schools. In 2014, Samford was selected as 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 Moffett School of Nursing with ceremonies occurring each fall and spring.