Posted on Jul 24, 2019

USF College of Nursing Holds Inaugural White Coat Ceremony

USF College of Nursing Holds Inaugural White Coat Ceremony

The University of South Florida College of Nursing officially welcomed 23 doctoral graduates into the nursing profession on July 23 during the college’s inaugural White Coat Ceremony.

The class of 2019 summer graduates were presented with their first white coats, a symbol of their entrance into the profession as doctorally prepared nurses and a rite of passage into health care professions.

The ceremony, held at Moffitt Cancer Center’s Stabile Research Building auditorium, followed a poster presentation session where students explained their doctoral research projects. To watch a recap of the White Coat Ceremony, click here.

The college will confer a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to each of the students at USF Health’s Aug. 3 commencement ceremony in the Yuengling Center. 

College of Nursing Dean Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, acknowledged and thanked the faculty, family and friends who helped the graduates reach this pivotal point in their nursing careers.

“For those of you earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice, what a milestone this is for you,” she said. “The DNP hopefully has given each of you a sense of the profession, the discipline, and what you bring to patients and families not only in Tampa Bay, but throughout the nation and the world.”

Dr. Rich urged the graduating class to embrace the nursing professionals that they have become.

“You’re treasures,” she said. “You will be treasures to the world, because we are the only profession that cares for those who can’t care for themselves. And I ask every one of you not to forget that. And congratulations.”

This year, USF College of Nursing was among 50 nursing schools selected to launch their first White Coat Ceremony thanks to financial support from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Denise Maguire, PhD, RN, CNL, FAAN, vice dean of graduate nursing programs, explained the history of the white coat ceremony, which began in 1993 at Columbia University through the work of Dr. Arnold Gold, a world-renowned pediatric neurologist.

“The White Coat Ceremony emphasizes compassion and the human connection from the very beginning of clinical training. Today, nearly every medical school in America, 260 nursing schools, and many other health professions schools around the globe hold the White Coat Ceremony,” said Dr. Maguire.

Student speaker Alyssa King, who is president of the USF Doctoral Nursing Student Organization and graduates from the DNP program in December, was the one who initially pushed for the college to have the White Coat Ceremony.

King said she was immensely honored and humbled to be a speaker at the momentous inaugural event. She challenged the class to continue to advocate for patients and for the profession.

“You should be immensely proud of yourselves,” she said. “Doctoral studies changed the way we think and our problem-solving practices as health care professionals. Just because you’re receiving a terminal degree, it doesn’t mean your learning is over.”

During the ceremony, students stepped onto the stage to put on their white coats, received a commemorative nursing medallion, and as a group, recited the international nurse pledge.

At the conclusion of the poster presentation, nursing faculty awarded ribbons to the top three posters. The poster winners were:

• First place for “The Impact of Bachelor of Science Nurses on Students with Chronic Illnesses Dispositions from School Health Clinics in Hillsborough County Public Schools” presented by Tiana Datoma and Stasha-Gae Roberts.

• Second place for “Addressing Vaccine Hesitations with an Education-Based Booklet” presented by Andrew Armstrong, Monika Endredi, and Shannon Munz.

• Third place for “Simulation in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Curriculum” presented by Patricia Cecil.Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing