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SXU School of Nursing and Health Sciences Holds White Coat Ceremony


Saint Xavier University (SXU) will host its inaugural White Coat Ceremony for sophomore nursing students on October 1 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Butler Reception Room. This ceremony serves to instill the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of training.

During the ceremony, 60 sophomore II nursing students will come forward to be "cloaked" before guests in the iconic white coat that signifies the commencement of their status as health care professionals.

"This is such an important step for our students as they continue their education, moving from academic coursework into clinical practice," said Peg Gallagher, Ed.D, RN, CNE, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences (SONHS). "Not only does the ceremony recognize them for all their hard work but it also emphasizes the compassion and intentional caring they will need as they enter their careers after graduation. In a way, the ceremony takes things outside the feel of a classroom and makes it that much more real."

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons by Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic health care, believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late. Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.

Saint Xavier University was one of 50 nursing schools designated in 2018 to launch their first White Coat Ceremony. Funding for Saint Xavier University's inaugural ceremony was provided by the Gold Foundation through the generous support of its trustee and donor Elaine Adler.

"I am honored and flattered to be a part of Saint Xavier University's inaugural White Coat Ceremony," said Patricia Kelly, MSN, RN, CNE, assistant professor and clinical placement coordinator for the SONHS who will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. "I am even more thrilled to welcome the Class of December 2020 to the next phase of their education in nursing. The white coat signifies compassion, empathy and the human connection, and I am so grateful to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in what i hope will be a long-lasting tradition in the SONHS."

Nearly every medical school in the United States, hundreds of nursing schools and many other health profession schools around the world participate in this highly regarded tradition.

"The trust and communication created with a patient is a defining factor in the path to healing," said Dr. Richard Levin, president and CEO of the Gold Foundation. "The White Coat Ceremony reinforces the importance of a deep human connection as students begin their journey to patients and modern health care."

The Gold Foundation strongly encourages human connection in health care. The foundation engages schools and their students, health systems, companies, and individual clinicians in the joy and meaning of humanistic health care, so that patients and their families can be partners in collaborative, compassionate and scientifically excellent care.

For more information about the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Foundation, visit their website.

Learn more about the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the opportunities it provides as a Center of Excellence.