Forty-three Caldwell University nursing students received their clinical white coats at a ceremony Aug. 31 on campus. The students, who are beginning their clinical studies this fall, were recognized for their future work in humanistic, patient-centered care.
They were cloaked in their jackets by faculty members and received commemorative lapel pins donated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation from the senior nursing students. 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.
The pilot program was made possible by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “We were delighted to be selected for this prestigious program, and we look forward to holding this joy-filled celebration each year,” said Dr. Theodora Sirota, associate professor and interim director of the Department of Nursing.
“This ceremony signifies the beginning of your journey to become a nurse,” said Dr. Barbara Chesler, vice president of academic affairs. “It symbolizes becoming a professional—one who has compassion and is trustworthy.”
Caldwell University “values the dignity of each individual person,” said President Nancy Blattner. The university prides itself on educating students to contributing to a just society. Part of that mission, she said, consists of educating students in the helping professions such as nursing and how to be caring and compassionate toward those with whom they interact. “Never is this more important than during a time of illness or medical crisis … As future graduates of Caldwell University’s Nursing program I have every confidence that you will be those compassionate caregivers.”
The keynote address was given by Dr. Mildred Ortu Kowalski, nurse researcher at Morristown Medical Center, Atlantic Health System, who said the white coat means students have academically “earned the privilege” of wearing it. “It is not enough to look like a nurse. You must also strive to act professionally, to provide care compassionately and to think critically like a nurse.”
Julie Andrews, president of the Nursing Honor Society, challenged the students to aspire to be in the upper one third of their class and to make a difference where their voices could be collectively heard.
Nicole Grandeza, president of the Student Nurses Association, encouraged the students to join the group. “Our goal is to aid in the development of the whole person, including his/her professional role and his/her responsibility for health care of people in all walks of life.”
Chaplain Father Al Berner gave the benediction. Dr. Nan Childress Orchard, chair of the Music Department, provided the processional and recessional music.
The students who received their white coats are:
Oh, In Ju
Rivera Stier, Candida