Published on October 15, 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 undergraduate 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, Dr. 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, Dr. Joy Whatley, Dr. Cindy Berry, Elaine Marshall, Jill Hightower and Jan Paine.  

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

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. 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.

To see photos from the event, please visit us on Facebook.