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White Coat Ceremony Elevates the Value of Humanism

The Mercy College Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is the only recipient in Iowa to be awarded with funding in 2017 for a White Coat Ceremony. This will work towards raising the level of professionalism within the field of nursing.


More than 80 new undergraduate Mercy College School of Nursing students participated in the school’s first-ever white coat ceremony, a rite of passage that welcomes students into medical professions. The Inaugural Mercy College B.S.N. White Ceremony took place on Friday, November 10, 2017 at the St. Ambrose Cathedral in Downtown Des Moines. 

Mercy College School of Nursing was one of 50 across the nation, that received funding from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) to host a White Coat Ceremony in 2017. Launched in 2013, a groundbreaking collaboration between APGF and AACN has enabled 260 schools of nursing in 48 states to offer ceremonies designed to instill a commitment to providing compassionate care among the next generation of registered nurses.

Though White Coat Ceremonies have been conducted by medical schools for more than 20 years, the APGF-AACN initiative marks the first time a coordinated effort has been developed to offer similar events at nursing schools. In nursing, a White Coat Ceremony typically consists of the recitation of an oath, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests. Students also are given a specially designed pin that serves as a visual reminder of their oath and commitment to providing high quality care. 

"As the healthcare provider who spends the most time with patients, nurses must embrace the need to provide compassionate care as an essential element of their professional practice," said Dr. Juliann Sebastian, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. "With health care becoming more patient-centered and team-driven, nurses, physicians, and other providers must embed humanism in their practice as a catalyst for realizing the best possible care outcomes."

Learn about the  Mercy College B.S.N. Program! 

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) is an international nonprofit organization devoted to keeping healthcare human through compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care. Founded in 1988, with strong roots in medical education, the Gold Foundation has expanded to embrace today's challenges and the whole healthcare team – nurses, physician assistants, hospital staff, medical executives, caregivers – with patients at the center. We infuse healthcare with humanism through rituals and recognition, such as the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and grants and programs designed to increase connection. The APGF Research Institute supports studies that investigate and advocate for humanistic change. Learn more at www.gold-foundation.org.

 The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 810 schools of nursing with baccalaureate and/or graduate degrees nationwide. AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacnnursing.org

Topics: BSN, White Coat Ceremony