Annual White Coat Ceremony Marks Students 'Official Entrance' to Nursing School
The College of Nursing's Annual White Coat Ceremony marks nursing students’ official entrance into the major.
The College of Nursing's Annual White Coat Ceremony was held on February 17, marking the official entrance into the nursing major for students in the undergraduate four-year B.S.N. and the accelerated second-degree B.S.N. (A.B.S.N) programs.
The event took place at the auditorium in Eisai Inc. building, located adjacent to Seton Hall’s Interprofessional Health Sciences (IHS) Campus. Serving as master of ceremony was Theresa L. Deehan, M.A.S., assistant dean for business affairs. Father Antonio T. Sarento Jr., M.Div. '15, M.A. '19, chaplain and director of campus ministry for the IHS Campus, delivered the opening invocation, as well as the liturgy for the traditional Blessing of the Hands, where each student was anointed with holy oil on their hands.
During her welcome address, Marie Foley, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing, explained that the first formal White Coat Ceremony, held at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1993, was led by Dr. Arnold P. Gold, a teacher and pediatric neurologist. She went on to detail how Dr. Gold and his wife had established the Arnold P. Gold Foundation a few years prior because they were concerned with all the technology that was involved in medicine. They didn't want physicians to lose that sense of humanism and caring.
“Our ceremony today is to remind you that you are entering a profession which is rooted in those virtues,” she said. “We don't ever want to lose sight of the fact that the focus of your care is the patient — whether that patient is an individual, a family, or a community.” Dean Foley concluded that the White Coat Ceremony serves as the beginning of their journey in becoming a nurse. “You are carrying on the legacy of Dr. Gold as servant leaders,” she said.
Students pledge the Academic Integrity Oath during the annual White Coat Ceremony.
Associate Professor Linda J. Ulak, Ed.D., R.N. then led the students in reciting the White Coat Ceremony Oath, which closely resembles the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians.
The keynote address was delivered by Susan B. Darby, Ph.D., RNC, clinical assistant professor and undergraduate assistant chair in the College. She offered three pieces of advice as the students begin their clinical courses and launch their nursing careers. “First, I urge you to maintain high ethical standards. Always remember the Academic Integrity Oath that you will recite at this white coat ceremony today,” she said. “Second, continue to build your nursing knowledge and clinical expertise by becoming a lifelong learner. Finally, always provide compassionate nursing care to your patients and their families.”
The Academic Integrity Oath, delivered by Associate Professor and Chair of the Undergraduate Department Kristi J. Stinson, Ph.D., R.N., APN-BC, was then recited by the B.S.N. and Clinical Nurse Leader students. It begins, “I pledge to uphold the highest standards of honesty and integrity in all of my actions as a student nurse at Seton Hall University College of Nursing.”
Judith A. Lucas, Ed.D., R.N., associate professor and associate dean of undergraduate programs, also delivered remarks, indicating that nurses consistently rank in the Gallup poll among the most trusted professionals. “That trust is well-earned through compassion, moral courage, and innovative problem-solving when confronted with today’s new challenges and threats to public health and safety,” she said.
Lucas congratulated the students “as they start on their journey into the nursing profession.” She concluded, “Today you are joining all nurses worldwide who are committed to preserving health, protecting patients, and creating a more just healthcare system.”
The event’s closing remarks from Elizabeth McDermott, Ph.D., M.A., assistant dean for student success, acknowledged that the students’ journeys had their “own set of challenges and victories, both big and small.” She charged the students “to embrace those moments as opportunities to learn and grow, to support your fellow nurses and allow them to support you, to see the value and the pleasure of each of these moments along the way.”