A pivotal part of the University of Arizona College of Nursing’s annual Residential Intensive Summer Experience (RISE), the annual White Coat Ceremony was established to celebrate its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students as they transition from pre-clinical coursework to advanced clinical practice.
Though the 2020 ceremony was held virtually because of the COVID-19 crisis, the September first ceremony was held in-person, a sign that better days are surely ahead.
The tradition, which began in 2015, is also a chance for the students to a affirm their commitment to providing compassionate, patient-centered care as future advanced nurse practitioners specializing in family, pediatric, adult-gerontology acute care and psychiatric mental health. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recognizes the white coat ceremony to symbolize the humanistic, compassionate care that students deliver as part of their advanced practice nursing education and future career as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). UArizona Nursing has two pathways for APRN education: one for Certified Nurse Anesthetists and one for Nurse Practitioners.
“The excitement was palpable. The Advanced Practice Registered Nursing students proudly processed across the stage to be ‘coated’ by their specialty coordinator. At the close of the ceremony, it was impactful when all the students recited the oath together in one strong united voice committing to clinical excellence," ~ DNP Program Director Allen Prettyman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP
“We’re thrilled that you’re all here and that we can celebrate this with you,” Dean Ki Moore told the students at the beginning of the Seventh Annual White Coat ceremony. “It’s a great opportunity for us to participate with you in celebrating this part of your DNP educational journey.”
As Dean Moore pointed out, the education programs and clinical practice of both groups of APRNs have evolved considerably over the years. Education programs have transitioned from certificate programs to practitioners now obtaining clinical doctorate degrees, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. “These profound educational changes support increased APRN responsibility as APRNs continue to strive for unsurpassed clinical excellence,” she said. “The Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in Arizona and many states is an independent practitioner with full practice authority. For us at the College of Nursing, it is about preparing you as nurse leaders at the highest level of nursing practice to strive to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice.”
One hundred nineteen Doctor of Nursing Practice students participated in this year’s event, which included remarks from the Dean and senior faculty as well as the recitation of the student oath of responsibility. The oath is a reiteration of the values students have learned and affirms their commitment to apply their knowledge, experience and skills to assure optimal outcomes for their patients.
“White Coat Ceremony which marks a milestone in the students’ educational journey,” said DNP Program Director Allen Prettyman, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FNAP of the event. “The excitement was palpable. The Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) students proudly processed across the stage to be ‘coated’ by their specialty coordinator. At the close of the ceremony, it was impactful when all the students recited the oath together in one strong united voice committing to clinical excellence. I firmly believe that they will all strive for unsurpassed excellence during their professional careers as APRNs!”
Click here for a detailed photo gallery of this year's ceremony.