October 19, 2016

BSN Class of 2018 White Coat Ceremony

Class of 2018 receives white coatsOct. 17, 2016 | More than 300 family members and friends, along with UAMS College of Nursing faculty, staff, alumni and supporters, watched Oct. 7 as junior Bachelor of Science in Nursing students received their white coats.  The ceremony marked the passage into the clinical phase of the students’ nursing education. The class of 2018 has 117 students —21 males and 96 females.

As the students prepared to leave behind the laboratories and classrooms for patient care and clinical rotations, Patricia A. Cowan, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing, reminded the students of the impact nurses have and the importance of empathy while providing care.  “Few professionals are as fortunate as nurses in being able to touch so many lives in such a profound way,” said Cowan.

The students recited the Nightingale Pledge, led by Brad Heird, senior class president, which calls on the students to be devoted to patients and the community, and promote health and welfare of all.

“We’re proud of all of you and what you’ve done to this point,” said Mark Tanner, D.N.P., R.N., director of the Baccalaureate Program, prior to the recitation of the pledge. “We have great expectations for your futures.”

Sarah Rhoads, Ph.D., D.N.P., A.P.R.N., College of Nursing alumna and education director in the UAMS Center for Distance Health, said it was important for the students to always keep the patient and his or her needs as the focus of their profession.  “Nursing school gives you the opportunity to spend time with your patients,” said Rhoads. “I want you to talk to them, listen to them, get to know them and their families. Let their stories inspire you.”

Jerilyn Swalve-Wasson spoke from the perspective of the patient and family, delivering a heartfelt, inspiring message on how caring nurses made a difference in the lives of patients and families, which resonated with the audience.  “When you interact with patients and families, you’re there to be their advocate and friend,” said Wasson. “You can make the biggest impact on their life.”