Nursing Program Holds First White Coat Ceremony

nursing white coat ceremony

Galloway, N.J. -  The Stockton University nursing program held its first ever White Coat Ceremony on Sept. 25 in the Campus Center Event Room. The program received a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to host the ceremony. 

“The oath that you are going to take today is really identifying the confluence of the science of medicine and the humanity and compassion of being a nurse,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Leamor Kahanov.  She urged students to take their oath very seriously and consider it in the way they are going to interact with their patients. 

“You are going to see people potentially at their very worst and you're going to make a difference for them,” Kahanov said. 

Brent Arnold, the new dean of the School of Health Sciences, said the white coat ceremony is a universal experience that bonds students in the medical field together for a greater purpose. 

Stockton's Chief Nurse Administrator and Associate Dean Sheila Quinn said the ceremony is “designed to instill a commitment to providing compassionate care among future health care professionals.” She reminded students that the most important part of the event is the oath they take which “acknowledges your primary role as caregivers.” 

Guest speaker Judith Schmidt, chief executive officer of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, encouraged students to go back and study the theorists of the past who pioneered the profession of nursing, such as Florence Nightingale and Dorothea Orem, and others. She congratulated students on taking on this enormous challenge of working in health care, especially during the pandemic. 

Schmidt shared the nontraditional path she took to become a successful nurse and nursing advocate. She said her mission in life is to “make sure that somebody is out there (for you) as they were for me … I want to make sure that there is someone out there advocating and caring for the nursing profession and the individual nurses.” 

The students walked across the stage to receive their pins from BSN Program Chair Rose Scaffidi and Associate Chair of the Accelerated BSN Program Jacqueline Arnone. They then recited the Nursing Commitment to Compassionate Care oath. 

The white coat ceremony was first held at Columbia University in 1993 when a professor, Dr. Arnold Gold, felt that the Hippocratic Oath taken by medical students during graduation ceremonies was four years too late. In 2014, recognizing the vital role nurses play in the health care team, the Gold Foundation partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to adopt a White Coat Ceremony for Nursing. 

The first Stockton University nursing White Coat Ceremony was opened to all sophomore, junior and senior four-year BSN students and both Accelerated BSN cohorts. About 150 attended this first ceremony.  Going forward, undergraduate BSN students will take the oath at the beginning of their sophomore year as they begin clinical experiences, and the Accelerated BSN cohort will take it at the beginning of their program. 

More information on the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and the Accelerated BSN program are on the Stockton website.

 - Reported by Hannah Urbanowycz


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