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Education & Training

What’s Behind a White Coat?

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In August, I had the pleasure to attend the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing’s (GBCN) White Coat Ceremony in Atlanta, GA. The atmosphere reminded me of the energy I felt two years ago when I donned my white coat at the beginning of my Doctoral education.

GBCN is the oldest nursing school in Georgia and is one of twelve that have implemented White Coat Ceremonies for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students in Georgia. Traditionally, White Coat Ceremonies have been respected as a rite of passage in medicine. Today many NP schools across the nation have adopted a White Coat Ceremony to commence their academic year.

In nursing, a White Coat Ceremony program includes the Dean’s welcome speech, the presentation of students, recitation of the international nurses’ pledge, and concludes with the blessing of hands.  This is also an opportunity for students and their families to celebrate the beginning of a new milestone.

In 2014, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the Arnold. P. Gold Foundation (APGF) launched an initiative to introduce White Coat ceremonies as standard in nursing. Today, over 300 nursing schools in the nation have received financial support to continue this standard.

As a GBCN’s Alumna, I have noticed a difference in the level of professionalism of our nurses.  They were taught to embrace the core values of their institution early, and I believe they continue to embrace their companies’ value when they enter the profession.

Attended this year’s ceremony, motivated my commitment to act for the benefit of society, uphold integrity, be civil towards others, pursue excellence, work collaboratively to achieve common goals and to value people as a role model in the nursing profession.

Does your school have a back-to-school ritual or White Coat Ceremony? Please share. We would love to feature your story in a video editorial.

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P. Little, DNP, FNP-BC

Family Nurse Practitioner, Author of Out of Crazy Born Genius: Reclaim Life After Abuse, Host of P.O.W.E.R. TALKS with Patrice Faye

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