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SUNY Downstate College of Nursing Holds Second Annual White Coat Ceremony

Brooklyn, NY – SUNY Downstate Medical Center’s College of Nursing recently held its second annual White Coat Ceremony welcoming incoming nursing students. At the ceremony, students newly enrolled in the College of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program received white coats as a symbol of joining the nursing profession. The class will graduate in 2016.

The White Coat Ceremony was begun by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) more than twenty years ago to instill among medical school students a commitment to providing compassionate care. Last year, the ceremony was extended to nursing schools, and Downstate’s College of Nursing was one of the first 100 nursing schools nationwide to be given a grant from APGF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to launch the nursing White Coat Ceremony.

During the ceremony, each nursing student was presented and "cloaked" with his or her short white laboratory coat, formalizing the student's entrance into the profession and reminding them of their commitment to high quality care. The students also recited a White Coat Ceremony Oath pledging dedication to the welfare of humanity and the relief of suffering, and accepting the duties and responsibilities of the nursing profession.

Daisy Cruz-Richman, PhD, RN, professor and dean of the College of the Nursing, greeted the students and guests and reminded them that providing humanistic and compassionate care to patients is the goal for all health care providers, including those in the nursing profession. “Compassionate and humanistic care must be the gold standard for clinical nursing practice,” said Dean Cruz-Richman. “It must be the hallmark when we render patient care, not only to patients, but also to their families and the communities where they reside.”

The keynote speaker was Shirley A. Girouard, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and associate dean for research and innovation at Downstate’s College of Nursing. Dr. Girouard said, “This ceremony has great importance. Our nation, you, our world, and our health care will be influenced by all of you as the next generation of nursing leaders, so we welcome you and want to emphasize the importance of what you do and the importance of you as healthcare professionals.”

Dr. Girouard noted, “There is a difference between caring as a human being, and caring as a professional nurse. They are not mutually exclusive, but they are certainly different. There is a theory, a science, and an art to caring as a nurse. Professional caring moves beyond the emotional or the human response; it requires knowledge and experience; and it requires action.”

This year, 68 students enrolled in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science Nursing Program.

The Nursing White Coat Ceremony at Downstate was also supported by the SUNY Downstate College of Nursing Student Council.


About SUNY Downstate Medical Center

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.