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Nursing students receive white coats celebrating the start of clinical studies

Caldwell, N.J., Sept. 2, 2016 – Sixty-six Caldwell University nursing students received their white coats at a ceremony Sept. 1 celebrating the start of their clinical studies.

“May the white coat remind you of our professional bond and commitment to the caring, compassion and humanism in nursing that we all share,” said Dr. Theodora Sirota, Ph.D., CNL, APRN-BC, professor and director of the Department of Nursing.

Sister Kathleen Tuite, vice president for student life, told the third-year students they were giving a “wonderful witness” to Caldwell University and encouraged them to provide “selfless love” in their work as nurses.

The keynote address was given by Carol Porter, DNP, R.N., FAAN, a former chief nursing officer at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She told the students that their entrance into clinical care is a “wonderful, serious step” in their careers. “It’s what’s inside the coat that matters,” she said.  Porter encouraged them to look at every patient through that person’s eyes, to “always go above and beyond … to seek out a mentor … to be well informed, well read, and belong to associations.” She advised them never to be afraid to advocate for a patient and to “push the envelope” if they feel something is ethically and morally wrong.

Samantha Coghlan, a senior and president of the Student Nurses’ Association, encouraged the students to become involved in the student-run organization. “Your participation will contribute to your success and prepare you for the rest of your life as a professional registered nurse.”

Nicole Grandeza ’16, B.S.N., R.N., spoke about the Caldwell Nursing Honor Society and encouraged the students to strive for academic and professional leadership, to “be inquisitive … be willing to learn … be open to change … strive to go above and beyond.”

Olivia O’Donnell, a junior who received her white coat, said it was a “very exciting day,” especially since she had also had her first clinical experience earlier. Jade Puello, also a junior, said it was sort of “like graduation … another milestone.”

The students were cloaked in their jackets by faculty members and received Humanism in Medicine pins from seniors.

They recited the nursing white-coat oath, pledging to accept the responsibilities that embody the nursing profession including the primary importance of considering the welfare of humanity and the relief of suffering.

Father Tom Blind gave the invocation and benediction, noting the upcoming canonization of Mother Teresa and how she is a model for God’s love and care for the sick.

Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music.

The pins were provided as a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, initiators of the first white-coat ceremony.

The ceremony was originally made possible by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support the Gold-ACCN White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.