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Tuskegee among nursing programs receiving special White Coat Ceremony funding

August 08, 2018

Jabari Cooper, American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Michael Tullier, APR, Tuskegee University Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing


A nursing student is being white-coated by school administratorsThe Department of Nursing in Tuskegee University’s School of Nursing and Allied Health is among the 50 nursing programs across the U.S. receiving funding to host White Coat Ceremonies for nursing students graduating in 2019.

The funding is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which began in 2013. Through their joint efforts, the organizations have enabled 310 schools of nursing in 49 states to offer ceremonies designed to inspire a commitment to providing compassionate care among the next generation of registered nurses.

“We are thrilled to continue this important partnership with AACN, and together welcome 50 more nursing schools into the White Coat Ceremony tradition,” said Dr. Richard Levin, president and CEO of the Gold Foundation. “We hope the nurses of tomorrow will find additional inspiration and steadfast support for compassionate care in this ritual that they can lean on as they begin their clinical studies and as they care for patients in the many years to come.”

In nursing, a White Coat Ceremony typically consists of the recitation of an oath, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests. Students also are given a specially designed pin that serves as a visual reminder of their oath and commitment to providing high-quality care.

Dr. Constance Hendricks, RN, the school’s dean, said that this funding will greatly enhance the traditional nursing capping and pinning ceremony hosted by the school during the university’s graduation season.

“This will add a special touch to our Department of Nursing’s efforts to honor our graduates and soon-to-be nursing professionals,” she said, noting that each student would receive a special pin provided by the Gold Foundation, and that the school can now host a post-ceremony reception for students and their families.

The Gold Foundation’s focus on fostering a disposition of compassionate care within future nurses aligns with the school’s vision for its academic programs.

“The Gold Foundation’s generosity further reinforces our school’s mission of developing healthcare servant leader-scholars who provide competent, compassionate care the Tuskegee way,” Hendricks noted.

Hendricks also pointed out that, while the ceremony is designed to further inspire the school’s nursing students, new funding for the ceremony already has inspired the school’s alumni.

“The Tuskegee University National Nursing Alumni Association has embraced this concept and already has committed to purchasing new white, personalized lab coats for each graduate for this academic year’s ceremonies. This represents what I hope is an ongoing tradition supported by our alumni association,” Hendricks said.

Though White Coat Ceremonies have been conducted by medical schools for more than 25 years, the APGF-AACN initiative marks the first time a coordinated effort has been developed to offer similar events at nursing schools.

“This rite of passage reminds nurses of their responsibility to uphold the highest standard of care and to treat all patients with compassion and respect,” said Dr. Ann Cary, chair of the AACN Board of Directors. “We are incredibly honored to partner with the Gold Foundation on this interprofessional initiative that supports nursing schools in their efforts to promote a culture of commitment, humanity and responsibility.”

For more information about this program, visit the AACN website.

© 2018, Tuskegee University