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Nursing students put on their coats for the first time on stage at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Sept. 9. About 100 students participated in the ceremony. Clarissa Worley

Nursing holds White Coat Ceremony 

Bella Mezzacapo photojournalist 

The White Coat Ceremony is a ritual dating back to 1993 that emphasizes compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care from the very first day of training. This ceremony was formerly only used to recognize doctors, but the ceremony has been extended to nursing programs. This gives students a sense of honor and accomplishment, and a sense of being welcomed into the field. 

On Friday, Sep. 9, in the Bicknell Family Center, the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing had their annual White Coat Ceremony with about 100 nursing students. The ceremony is a tangible way to impress on students the importance of compassion and patient-centered care. 

“Let’s say the white coat ceremony is an opportunity to recognize that it’s time for the student to move from the classroom setting to the clinical setting where they will actually be doing patient care,” said Barbara McClaskey, professor of nursing. “Part of the white coat ceremony is also to really acknowledge the fact that we need to keep human respect and compassion in our care. And so another part of the ceremony is the pinning at the end, which is the completion, it’s kind of the beginning of their true clinical experiences and then the completion of their clinical and where they’re ready to be practicing nurses.” 

For some, this ceremony is a dream come true and something that they’ve waited a long time to experience. 

“I did the white coat ceremony for my RN and BSN program,” April Ronquillo, non-traditional student in nursing, said. “I am a non-traditional student. I’ve been an RN since 2006, but I wanted to go to Pitt State 16 years ago. So, it’s kind of a dream come true for me to be part of this nursing school. I feel honored to be part of this. It’s such a big reminder of the importance of what the nursing profession does and what part I play in that.” 

Although 100 students got to experience and take part in the White Coat Ceremony, there was a vast amount who could not attend. 

“I was actually the only one in my class to come,” Amberlyn Jarman, junior in nursing, said. “I wish a few more of the students in my cohort could have been here, but a lot of us are online, so I understand. But yeah, it went really good and I’m excited! I’ve really liked getting to know the faculty at Pitt State so far and I’m excited for the rest of my time here.” 

The White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage for nursing students and pre-medical students alike. The ceremony signifies their entrance into the medical profession. With that, it solidifies the students’ chances at getting jobs after college. Nearly every hospital in the area offers nurses signing bonuses. Depending on their areas of study, some students could receive as much as $20,000 right out of college. 

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