APU freshmen nursing majors receive their first white coat

On Jan. 25, freshmen nursing students, parents and faculty gathered to celebrate the first “White Coat Ceremony for Nursing.” The ceremony was held in Upper Turner Campus Center (UTCC), after the nursing department received a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Arnold Perlman Gold was a world-renowned pediatric neurologist who became an international leader and advocate for humanism in healthcare. His legacy lives on the work of the Gold Foundation.

Friends and family gathered to witness these nursing students receive their first white coats. Maria Higbee, mother of Joshua Higbee, freshman nursing major, spoke of her excitement.

“Though he told me the day before … I’m very proud to see my son,” she said. “I’m excited, the event is presented well … ”

Chair of Baccalaureate Nursing, Melinda Dicken,   opened the event in a word of prayer. While on stage, Dickens honored the students and staff.

Shortly after Dickens introduced Kathi Hemphill, the Director of Education and Citrus Valley Health Partners. Hemphill spoke to the crowd and gave students future career advice.

“Through all the medicine and technology … we need to pay attention to our patients,” Hemphill said. “Our cornerstones of nursing are compassion and care. It sounds cliche, but good nurses treat their patients like family.”

After Hemphill’s speech, it was time for the students to put on their coats.The students lined up, with their coat in hand, next to the stage awaiting their moment. After their names were read off, they gave their coat to a staff member and that staff member put the coat on their students.  After the students received their coats, Diane Sadoughi, baccalaureate faculty member, led the student oath. Students held out their hands as Sadoughi spoke:

“We anoint your hands in the name of the Father who created, loves and sustains you, the Son who redeems you and the Holy Spirit who empowers you. May these hands bring comfort and healing to those they touch, to the honor and glory of God,” Sadoughi said.

The students received one final cheer and then were released to go celebrate with their friends and family. Callie Grundherr, a freshman nursing major, gave her thoughts.

“It makes me feel really excited because with a lot of nursing programs, you don’t get to do this so early on. So it makes me really excited to get into nursing right away, get into the clinicals and start my career,” Grundherr said.

Christopher John Salivio, a freshman nursing major, also expressed how he felt.

“I don’t know [how to describe it] It’s super exciting. We’re all together celebrating something we’ve all worked hard for,” Salivio said.

This was APU’s first White Coat Ceremony and the School of Nursing hopes to make this a timely tradition.

This ceremony was possible because of the generosity of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, their website can be found here.