Byers School of Nursing Holds Inaugural White Coat Ceremony for 2021 Sophomore Nursing Students

The Gary & Linda Byers School of Nursing at Walsh University hosted its first White Coat Ceremony at the Global Learning Center on Friday, December 10, with family and friends in attendance.  The program received a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to host the ceremony, a universal experience that bonds students in the medical field together for a greater purpose.

“There is a growing and critical need for nurses as we face a shortage across our country and around the globe,” said Dr. Judy Kreye, Dean of the Byers School of Nursing. “Lives depend on their compassion, critical thinking, and excellence to take us through this pandemic and into a healthier future.”

The momentous ceremony is held during nursing students’ sophomore year, before they begin the clinical-aspect of the program, and is considered a formal “rite to entry” to the nursing profession.  During the ceremony, 36 nursing students recited an oath with a commitment to humanistic – compassionate, collaborative, and scientifically excellent – patient care.  Students came forward during the ceremony to be “cloaked” by Professor Sherrie Underwood, Chair Undergraduate Nursing, and Professors Emily Whitmer and Amanda Pratt, in the iconic white coat that signifies their status as healthcare professionals.
A national keynote speech, organized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, was given by AACN President Dr. Deb Trautman. With inspiring words, she urged students to take their oath seriously.

The ceremony was established by Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 to welcome students into the medical profession and set expectations for their roles as future physicians.  In 2014, recognizing the vital role nurses play in the health care team, the Gold Foundation partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to adopt a White Coat Ceremony for Nursing. Today, hundreds of nursing schools, nearly every medical school in the United States, 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 healthcare professional,” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, President and CEO of The Gold Foundation.

“Today, as we are facing the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, the White Coat Ceremony is all the more relevant in emphasizing the importance of the human connection in healthcare. We are grateful for the leadership of Walsh University 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.

For more information about the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Foundation, visit