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A New Tradition for Nursing


To kick off the fall semester, the College of Nursing held its inaugural White Coat Ceremony for graduate students.

The University of South Carolina College of Nursing was one of Fifty Nursing Schools Nationwide Awarded Funding to Host White Coat Ceremonies that Champion Compassionate Care from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).  Launched in 2013, this ground-breaking collaboration between APGF and AACN was developed to promote humanistic, patient-centered care among future generations of registered nurses. 

Though White Coat Ceremonies have been conducted by medical schools for more than 20 years, the APGF-AACN initiative marks the first time a coordinated effort has been developed to offer similar events at schools of nursing. Nursing joins the growing number of health professions that offer "cloaking" ceremonies, including dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and physician assistants among other disciplines. 

"White Coat Ceremonies highlight the important role compassion plays in providing patient-centered care and improving health outcomes," said Dr. Juliann Sebastian, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. "With health care becoming more interprofessional and team-driven, nurses, physicians, and other providers must embed humanism in their practice as a way to elevate the patient care experience."

Dean Jeannette Andrews stated, “We are delighted to welcome our new graduate nursing students to our #1 ranked College of Nursing.  Our students in our master’s and doctoral nurse practitioner tracks and our organizational and executive leader tracks are in high demand from employers.  We’ve set the bar high and look forward to their success in our respective programs.”

The ceremony honored 135 graduate students as they begin advance practice nursing degrees – MSN and DNP.  Speakers included Dean Jeannette Andrews, Dr. Amy Dievendorf, Dr. Katherine Saunders and Dr. Stephanie Burgess.  Students received their white coats, took an oath to promote humanism as health care providers, sang the USC alma mater and enjoyed a reception with faculty, staff, family and friends. 

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF): As a growing, international not-for-profit organization we have a critical mission: to optimize the experience and outcomes of health care for both patients and practitioners by promoting care that is as humane as it is technologically sophisticated. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation works with physicians in training and in practice, as well as other members of the healthcare team, to instill a culture of respect, dignity and compassion for patients and professionals. When skilled practitioners build caring, trusting and collaborative relationships with patients, study after study reveals more appropriate medical decisions, better patient adherence with treatment plans, and less costly healthcare outcomes.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 790 schools of nursing with baccalaureate and/or graduate degrees nationwide. AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.


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