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Junior nursing cohort celebrates their graduation to a white coat

Why the white coat is so important and what it takes to earn one.
Junior+Nursing+cohort+wearing+their+white+coats%3B+a+symbol+of+their+start+in+the+professional+medical+field.+
Ella Gonzales/Staff Writer
Junior Nursing cohort wearing their white coats; a symbol of their start in the professional medical field.

Thursday night held the junior nursing cohort’s biannual white coat ceremony, a ceremony to commemorate the nurse’s introduction into clinical labs. Families and friends gathered to show their support and how proud they are.

Ceremony

The ceremony consisted of a precessional, white coat robing, and a recessional. It was a celebration of the hard work that the nursing students have accomplished in the past two years. As Director of TCU Nursing Dr. Jackie Rowles described it, it is a student’s transition from being a mundane student into a nurse.

The white coat ceremony has become an academic tradition and ritual in healthcare professions

— Dr. Jackie Rowles, Director, School of Nursing

120 nursing students walked into the auditorium with lamps, which is the symbol for a pinning ceremony in nursing. This was a tradition started by the first ever white coat ceremony, where they held oil lamps. The lamp signifies everything a nurse ought to be: “compassionate and empathetic.”

Nursing students standing pre-white coat donning. (Ella Gonzales/Staff Writer)

Earning a White Coat

The work to get to this level is not for the weak-minded. Nursing students must complete anatomy, microbiology, Human Development, Pathophysiology, nutrition and lab, according to junior nursing major Abigail Hooper. A passing score is a 73 in all major classes.

“It has not been easy for students to get to this point, I have seen the patho tests of Dr. Cheek.” said Dr. Christopher Watts, Dean of the Harris College of Nursing.

When nursing students graduate to a white coat, they start clinical labs. The clinical lab is when nurses go out into health care facilities and learn how to care for those who are ill. It takes place once a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Symbol of the White Coat

The White Coat signifies the “purity and purpose” of becoming a health care professional. “Donning the white coat is a powerful symbol of transformation,” said Rowles.

White coat is a symbol of compassion, empathy, trust, respect, moral integrity, and commitment to health and safety of a patient.

The donning of the white coat. TCU Nursing alumni gather to dress the nursing students in their well earned white coat. (Ella Gonzales/Staff Writer)

“So it may just look like a white coat that has our logo on it, but it is so much more,” said Rowles, “Wear it knowing that you are representing not just yourself, but your family, and TCU nursing.”

What’s Next?

This marks the halfway point for the 2025 nursing cohort. The next honor they will receive is their BSN commemorated by a pinning ceremony. This will take place in Spring 2025 when the nurses graduate.

Junior Nursing students: Nikki Vignolo, Abigail Hooper, and Natalie Nicol celebrating their new coats. (Ella Gonzales/Staff Writer)
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