Tarleton State University’s School of Nursing hosts its inaugural White Coat Ceremony at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, in the Thompson Student Center Ballrooms.

The ceremony is a rite of passage, at the very start of training, to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care.

“It is an official time of welcoming new nursing students to the profession and charging them with the responsibilities they will have,” said Dr. Sandra Lee, associate dean of Tarleton’s School of Nursing.

One hundred twenty-five new students — 104 beginning their studies on the Stephenville campus and 21 LVN-to-BSN students from the university’s outreach center at McLennan Community College in Waco — will be recognized and “cloaked” by members of the Tarleton faculty.

“Tarleton’s School of Nursing has done a similar practice of a convocation for our incoming students for some time,” Lee said. “But this is the first time we’ve had a grant funded through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for an official White Coat Ceremony. The grant and the recognition allow us to highlight and put more planning into a special event.”

One of the aspects making the ceremony more meaningful for students is the inclusion of their loved ones.

“Until this year the nursing convocation was delivered at the end of the incoming students’ orientation day. This year we’ve set aside an evening so the families can join the students for this special event.”

Remarks by Lee and Dr. Sally Lewis, interim dean of Tarleton’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services, will focus on “Keeping Healthcare Human.”

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons by Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist.

A passionate advocate for humanistic healthcare, Gold believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came inappropriately late in the training process. 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.

Funding for Tarleton’s inaugural ceremony was provided by the Gold Foundation through the support of its trustee and donor Elaine Adler. Tarleton was among 50 nursing schools selected in 2019 to launch their first White Coat Ceremony.

Today, nearly every medical school in the United States, hundreds of nursing schools and many other health profession schools worldwide participate in this 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 healthcare.”

The Gold Foundation champions the human connection in healthcare. It engages schools and their students, health systems, companies and individual clinicians in the meaning of humanistic healthcare, 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 www.gold-foundation.org.

For more information on Tarleton’s School of Nursing, go to www.tarleton.edu/nursing.