Nearly 200 students from the UCF College of Nursing ceremoniously began their clinical practice with an inaugural white coat ceremony and joined a nationwide initiative to promote compassionate care.

At the Jan. 10 event held in the Pegasus Ballroom at the UCF Student Union, traditional baccalaureate nursing (BSN) students from UCF’s Orlando, Cocoa and Daytona Beach campuses were cloaked in the symbolic white coat as they took an oath to promote humanism in all aspects of their care.

“Nurses today are taking on greater roles and responsibilities, and science and technology are making groundbreaking achievements in health care. However, despite all of these advancements, we must not forget that the core of what we do, as nurses, is to provide care to our fellow humankind,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “May this white coat serve as a reminder each day in your practice to treat patients with compassion and empathy, and be an advocate for their health, safety and rights.”

A rite of passage associated with medical schools for more than 20 years, the white coat ceremony is beginning to take place at nursing schools across the nation thanks to a ground-breaking collaboration launched last year between the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Through the ceremonies, the foundation and AACN hope to promote humanistic, patient-centered compassionate care among future generations of registered nurses. UCF is one of just 60 nursing schools in 33 states to receive funding to participate in this year’s effort. Florida Hospital has also provided funding to support this inaugural ceremony at UCF.

“With health care becoming more patient-centered and team-driven, nurses, physicians, and other providers must embed humanism in their practice as a way to elevate the patient care experience and improve care outcomes,” said Dr. Eileen T. Breslin, AACN president.

The white coat ceremony coincides with clinical rotations, which is when students begin their hands-on training in clinical settings under the supervision of an instructor, and serves to establish a foundation and commitment to providing patient-centered care at the beginning of a nurse’s professional formation. UCF students perform their clinical rotations in hospitals, health care agencies and long-term facilities throughout the Central Florida region.

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