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White Coat Ceremony

October 15, 2019

New nursing students stand together during a prayer inside Mary Chapel at the recent White Coat Ceremony.
New nursing students stand together during a prayer inside Mary Chapel at the recent White Coat Ceremony.

To officially welcome new students of the Mount’s Nursing Program, a White Coat Ceremony was held last month at Mary Chapel on the Chalon Campus. Now in its third year, the special ceremony is held annually to celebrate the students into the noble profession of nursing. 

“We’ve established a tradition of hosting this ceremony for our new students as a way of celebrating their rite of passage and dedication to the nursing profession,” said Dr. Leah FitzGerald, MSMC Dean of Nursing. “They’ve all worked so hard to be accepted into our nursing program, and this is one way to recognize them for that accomplishment.” 

During the ceremony, 80 incoming nursing students filed into the chapel to be cloaked with a white nursing coat by MSMU faculty as their family members, peers and school leadership looked on. Following an opening prayer, guest speaker Dr. Giancarlo Lyle-Edrosolo, Chief Nursing Officer for Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, gave a moving keynote address about what the nursing field meant to him and the importance of practicing the art of caring as a nursing professional. The ceremony closed with the students taking a nursing oath before the audience, as an acknowledgement of their central obligation of caring for the patient, while they proudly stood wearing their white coats.

 “It serves to welcome our students into the nursing practice and elevate the value of humanism as the core of nursing care,” said Dr. FitzGerald. “The coat serves as a symbol of compassion in combination with scientific excellence in nursing.”

After the ceremony, the students were led outside of the chapel for a celebratory reception, where they were greeted by about 200 well-wishers. The first ceremony in 2017 was made possible by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing as well as generous support from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Mount plans to continue the tradition and extend it to other nursing programs at the Mount, as the University joins more than 350 nursing programs in the nation.