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Loyola University New Orleans Holds First White Coat Ceremony for Nurses

By Loyola University on Tue, 09/28/2021 - 11:24

First cohort of traditional undergraduate nurses receive white coats Oct. 2

(New Orleans – September 27, 2021) This weekend, Loyola University New Orleans hosts its first White Coat Ceremony for students in the university’s newly launched undergraduate nursing program, a rite of passage to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of nursing education.

The Loyola – Ochsner nursing partnership, announced last fall, was forged in response to the global pandemic and regional and national nursing shortages. The first cohort of nearly 50 first year students and 12 second year students started classes in August at Loyola and will graduate in 2025 and 2024 respectively. 

The White Coat ceremony is an honor practiced by nursing and medical students at universities around the nation. During the ceremony, new students will recite an oath to patient care and step forward to be “cloaked” by Dean Michelle Collins, Loyola’s new dean of the College of Nursing and Health.

“This is such an exciting occasion in a student nurse’s education; it signifies the successful completion of their pre-nursing coursework and first nursing lab,” said Dean Collins. “Their success affords them the privilege, and it is most definitely a privilege, to begin their clinical rotations with actual patients in the clinical setting.” 

“The past two years have proven, like never before, that nursing is a profession for heroes, those who love science and people in equal measure. Loyola is proud to help fill the critical need for more nurses while providing transformative opportunities for our students,” said Loyola President Tania Tetlow. “By combining the power of Jesuit education with the excellence of Ochsner Health, we will educate students at the highest levels of healthcare, ethics and passionate commitment.”

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Arnold P. Gold, MD, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic healthcare, believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late. Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe. 

Today, nearly every medical school in the United States, hundreds of nursing schools, and many other health profession schools around the globe participate in this tradition of humanistic care. This weekend, Loyola is among 50 universities to participate in the White Coat ceremony courtesy of a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

When nurses and other healthcare providers build caring, trusting, and collaborative relationships with patients, studies reveal a connection to better care decisions, improved patient adherence to treatment plans, and less costly healthcare outcomes. 

Though White Coat/Oath Ceremonies are not new in the health professions, they are relatively new to nursing. Since 2013, AACN and the Gold Foundation have worked together to implement this rite of passage in nursing, which has resulted in 410 schools of nursing in 50 states including the District of Columbia, receiving support as part of this initiative.  

For more information about the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Foundation, visit www.gold-foundation.org.