Students in Tusculum’s School of Nursing take important career step with receipt of white coats

GREENEVILLE – Students in Tusculum University’s School of Nursing have achieved a major milestone in their careers with the receipt of one of the most visible symbols of their profession.

Briana McDonald receives her white coat during Friday’s ceremony.

School leaders held a white coat ceremony Friday, Feb. 14, for undergraduate and graduate students who are embarking on the clinical phase of the nursing program. Twenty-three students in the Bachelor of Science in nursing class and 10 students in the Master of Science in nursing program received their coats and learned about the high calling they were accepting in the health care field.

“As you don your white coat for the first time today, please take a moment to think about this initial step you are taking,” Dr. Lori Anderson, the School of Nursing’s dean, told the students. “This is your first step to entering one of the most trusted and respected professions, with the highest-ranked honesty and ethical standards. Every time you wear your white coat, please think about this day and remember what the coat symbolizes and the professional duties with which you have been entrusted.”

Students recite the white coat pledge during Friday’s ceremony.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing announced in the summer that Tusculum’s School of Nursing was one of 50 in the nation to receive funding to host a white-coat ceremony. These schools joined 360 others in the nation that already had this important and joyous event.

Dr. Anderson said the funding is part of a national initiative between the Gold Foundation and the AACN to promote humanistic, patient-centered care among future generations of registered nurses.

As part of the ceremony, nursing students recited the white coat pledge. Among the promises they made were to uphold the highest moral values set forth by the profession, collaborate with all health care professionals, keep patients’ personal business confidential and provide the best treatment and education to patients. They agreed to practice nursing with humility, optimism, compassion and respect and be advocates in maintaining the integrity of the profession.

Students who received their white coats during Friday’s ceremony pose afterward.

“Compassionate care is linked to superior patient outcomes, lower levels of provider burnout and higher satisfaction among members of the health care team,” Dr. Anderson said. “Nurses are the ones on the health care team that spend the most time with patients and must be committed and embrace compassionate care as an essential element of their professional practice.”

In addition to the white coat, students received the humanism lapel pin from the foundation.

For more information about the School of Nursing, please visit