‘White coat’ ceremony recognizes students’ start in nursing

The College of Nursing held its first white coat ceremony for nursing majors on Monday, Aug. 28.

White coat ceremonies are the traditional introduction to students of health care professions entering their “clinicals,” or training with patients. This inaugural white coat ceremony also included current nursing majors, who had never been recognized in this fashion. Approximately 250 nursing majors took part in this “catch-up” ceremony; future white coat ceremonies will include only incoming nursing students.

A nursing student puts on a white coat with help from another woman.
Senior Allison Pichler dons her white coat with help from College of Nursing Dean Kim Litwack as Provost Johannes Britz looks on. UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

The ceremony was supported by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which also provided pins symbolizing the oath taken by UWM nursing majors during the event.  The coats were purchased with funds from the College of Nursing Black and Gold Committee.  The Nursing Student Association assisted with the programming.

Associate professor Julia Snethen, who secured the Gold grant, said the ceremony was the result of a student initiative.

“They’re the ones who came up with this idea, and they organized the program,” Snethen said.

A student smiles as the nursing dean helps her don her white coat.
Senior Anila Ashraf is congratulated by UWM Provost Johannes Britz. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

Nursing senior Morgan Verkuilen one of the student organizers, said the ceremony is a recognition that admission to the nursing program is itself a significant accomplishment.

“Getting into the program is really hard, and it’s important that students get to celebrate that together,” she said.

Connor Stone, Verkuilen’s partner in the initiative, said community-building was a motivator for him.

“We really wanted to bring the students together as a community,” Stone said. “We have a number of great organizations in the college, and we thought this was a way to help get students involved in them.”

Snethen said the ceremony serves as a “bookend” of the students’ academic career, along with the pinning ceremony that marks the end of a nurse’s education.

More in Health

Top Stories