The nursing program at UVa-Wise is one of 50 schools of nursing to receive funding to host a White Coat ceremony. The funding for the College’s first White Coat ceremony comes from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“A white coat ceremony is held to commemorate the beginning of a nursing student’s formal training as a professional nurse as they begin their clinical experiences in the health care setting,” said Cathie Collins, chair of the UVa-Wise Department of Nursing. “It is a reminder of the responsibility nurses hold in caring for patients and their families, as well as being a part of the health care team. We will hold our ceremony in late September, on the Friday before they begin their first clinical rotation.”

APGF and AACN have helped 260 schools of nursing offer ceremonies designed to instill a commitment to providing compassionate care among the next generation of registered nurses, according to a news release issued on Aug. 14.

“Today’s patients expect their healthcare providers to show compassion and engage them directly in decision-making related to their own care,” said Dr. Richard Levin, president and CEO of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. “We are delighted to continue our collaboration with AACN this year and expand the important work underway to reach nursing students early in their programs with a message that compassion matters.”

According to the news release, White Coat ceremonies have been conducted by medical schools for more than 20 years, but the APGF-AACN initiative marks the first time a coordinated effort has been developed to offer similar events at nursing schools. In nursing, a White Coat ceremony typically consists of the recitation of an oath, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests. Students also are given a specially designed pin that serves as a visual reminder of their oath and commitment to providing high quality care.

“As the healthcare provider who spends the most time with patients, nurses must embrace the need to provide compassionate care as an essential element of their professional practice,” said Dr. Juliann Sebastian, chair of the AACN Board of Directors. “With health care becoming more patient-centered and team-driven, nurses, physicians, and other providers must embed humanism in their practice as a catalyst for realizing the best possible care outcomes.”