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First white coat ceremony at East Tennessee State University: class of December 2017 gold-AACN white coat ceremony.

Article submitted and written by District 5 President: Christine Reed RN, BSN

On Friday October 16th, 2015 I had the privilege to attend ETSU's very first White Coat Ceremony for the College of Nursing class of December 2017 at the Martha Street Culp Auditorium D.P. Culp University Center at ETSU in Johnson City, TN.

Entering the auditorium I witnessed 91 enthusiastic nursing students at ETSU anticipating the honor of being presented on stage with their white pressed professional coat, a symbol of professionalism, trust, and compassion.

After 50 years, capping ceremonies have been replaced with the White Coat Ceremony. The welcome was given by Dr. Teresa Stephens, Director of Undergraduate Programs at ETSU and remarks were given by the Dean of the College of Nursing, Dr. Wendy Nehring, and ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland.

The Keynote speaker, was Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU Vice President for Health Affairs and University Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Bishop's words resonated the power and beauty of our nursing profession as she shared a personal story from her nursing career in patient care. She spoke the following words which should serve as a great reminder to all of us as to why we chose to become a nurse. Dr. Bishop's inspiring words were to; "Treat each patient encounter as a gift, and do not ever lose your sense of compassion that inspired you to become a nurse. Our simple human presence is the essential foundation of healing for the patient and caregiver. You were given this job because you were strong enough to do it."

Dr. Bishop's speech was followed by the cloaking ceremony and the Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Dr. Kenneth Tillman, read each name. One by one, each nursing student went up on stage and was assisted by Dr. Nehring as she helped place their coat on them as their picture was taken.

The auditorium was filled with family and friends as cameras flashed to catch a snapshot or video of their precious loved one who will be entering into the greatest profession of the upmost highest calling, "Professional Nurse."

After the cloaking ceremony, 91 nursing students along with all faculty and administrative staff stood to recite the oath of a nursing student lead by Mrs. Ellen Drummond, assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs. After closing remarks a reception was provided for a time of celebration and pictures.

This program was made possible with a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support the Gold-AACN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.

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Author:Reed, Christine
Publication:Tennessee Nurse
Date:Dec 22, 2015
Words:418
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