The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing hosted its White Coat Ceremony, a rite of passage to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of training.
A ceremony was held in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton to welcome the students into the nursing profession. Faculty and college administration presented coats to students and Brittni McGill, Chief Nursing Officer for Norman Regional, was the keynote speaking in Oklahoma City.
Over 300 students recited an oath to patient care as a part of the ceremony. Students came forward during the ceremony to be “cloaked” by faculty in the iconic white coat that signifies their status as healthcare professionals.
The keynote speech was given by Britni McGill, Chief Nursing Officer for the Norman Regional Hospital system. “Our job as nurses extends beyond caring for our patients. We need to care for their loved ones, our peers, community, and work families,” said McGill.
The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Arnold P. Gold, MD, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic healthcare, 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.
Today, nearly every medical school in the United States, hundreds of nursing schools, and many other health profession schools around the globe participate in this tradition of humanistic care.
“Since 1993, The White Coat Ceremony has been an early and essential touchpoint of humanism on the path of a physician,” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, President and CEO of The Gold Foundation. “Today, as we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the White Coat Ceremony is even more relevant in emphasizing the importance of the human connection in healthcare. We are grateful for the leadership of OU College of Nursing in elevating the message, both during the ceremony and throughout the years of education, that empathy and respect are critical parts of optimal care.”
The Gold Foundation champions the human connection in healthcare. The foundation engages schools and their students, health systems, companies, and individual clinicians in the joy and meaning of humanistic healthcare, so that patients and their families can be partners in collaborative, compassionate and scientifically excellent care.