The School of Nursing in Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences held its inaugural White Coat Ceremony for junior nursing majors Jan. 14 in the Robert Carr Chapel. June Marshall ’97 (DNP ’11), nurse scientist at Texas Health Resources, spoke at the ceremony. Recent TCU nursing alumni assisted with presenting the white coats.
The White Coat Ceremony welcomes learners into their clinical nursing courses. Seventy-three students received a white coat representing the professional values of nursing (caring, ethics, dignity) as well as a lapel pin that represents a commitment to humanism. This program is supported by a grant through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Arnold P. Gold Family Foundation, with local sponsor CID Resources/Wonderwink.
The first full-fledged White Coat Ceremony took place at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons at the urging of Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who was then professor of Clinical Neurology and professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Columbia. At the time, Dr. Gold noted that the existing practice of having students take the Hippocratic oath at the end of their medical training occurred four years too late. Grants 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.
Today, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at 97 percent of AAMC-accredited schools of medicine in the United States and Canada, as well as at several osteopathic schools of medicine, medical schools in 13 other countries, physician assistant programs and, most recently, at a growing number of nursing schools. In 2014 the Gold Foundation partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to support a pilot program that has seen 160 nursing schools adopt the Gold-AACN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.