Felician University Holds First Ever White Coat Ceremony for Nursing

faculty and students at white coat ceremony

Felician University recently hosted the Gold-AACN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing. This event serves as a formal welcome into the Nursing profession, held as students begin their clinical learning experience. This inaugural ceremony at Felician was made possible through grant funding provided by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

During the ceremony, as their proud families looked on, 98 sophomore nursing students received their white coats, symbolizing the commitment they are making to the profession of nursing and to the humanistic care of patients. The students were cloaked by Dr. Shore, dean of the Felician School of Nursing, and Elaine Adler, funder of the White Coat Ceremony and trustee of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, along with nursing professors Dr. Zweighaft, Dr. Minors, Burrows and Leban.  

As part of the ceremony, the students recited the nursing oath reflecting their commitment to provide the highest quality of care and compassion to their patients while acknowledging the responsibility entrusted to them by the public they will serve. Each student received a pin, courtesy of The Gold Foundation, to remind each prospective nurse to keep healthcare human.

Dr. Shore addressed the students, saying, “The School of Nursing continues to promote the value of humanistic and compassionate care in our curriculum and in professional practice. Humanism, caring and compassion have characterized the qualities of the Felician Nurse in the past, in the present, and will continue into the future.”

Lucille A. Joel, EdD, RN, APN, FAAN was the keynote speaker. Dr. Joel is a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers and has served as president of the American Nurses Association and the NJ State Nurses Association. Her remarks, titled “An Inevitable Century of Change for Nursing” were both inspiring and motivating to beginning nursing students who will serve in a constantly evolving healthcare environment.

Felician University is proud to be one of the 50 universities across the country and the only one in New Jersey this year to receive a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to initiate a White Coat Ceremony in the School of Nursing. 

Event funded by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and American Association of Colleges of Nursing

About the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is dedicated to keeping healthcare human. Its overarching goal is to create the gold standard in healthcare – compassionate, collaborative and scientifically excellent care – to support clinicians throughout their careers, so the humanistic passion that motivates them at the beginning of their education is sustained throughout their practice. It strives to ensure that care and respect always govern the relationship between practitioner and patient.

About the White Coat Ceremony

The first White Coat Ceremony took place in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. At the time, Dr. Arnold Gold was a Professor of Clinical Neurology and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics there. He noted that the existing practice of having students take the Hippocratic Oath at the end of their medical training occurred four years too late. The Gold Foundation instituted the White Coat Ceremony as a way to emphasize humanism in medicine at the very start of medical education. Support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation helped advance the White Coat Ceremony far beyond Columbia. In just a few years the ceremony was adopted by nearly every medical school in North America.

In 2014, recognizing the vital role nurses play in the healthcare team, the Gold Foundation partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to adopt a White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.  More than 200 schools of nursing now participate and the number continues to grow.