School of Nursing to hold its 1st White Coat Ceremonies

The School of Nursing is holding its inaugural White Coat Ceremonies on Jan. 4 and 5 and March 1, thanks to a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Intended for first-year students in medical, nursing and physician assistant programs, the White Coat Ceremony “serves to welcome students to health care practice and elevate the value of humanism as the core of health care,” said Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing, in a message to faculty.

The School of Nursing’s first ceremonies will take place during the school’s 50th anniversary year.

The students will recite an oath to patient care and come forward to be cloaked by faculty before family and friends in the iconic white coat that signifies their status as health care professionals.

William Rosa, a palliative care nurse practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania, is the invited speaker at the Jan. 4 and 5 ceremonies for students in the Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (TBSN) program. Rosa is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, one of Modern Health Care’s 2017 Rising Stars in Nursing, and one of the youngest inductees as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Critical Care Medicine.

Deborah Trautman, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, will speak at the March ceremony, which is for students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.

The traditional track is an upper-division completion track for individuals completing their first baccalaureate degree and who are not registered nurses. The accelerated track is designed to meet the learning needs of the individual who has completed a prior Bachelor of Science or higher degree in a field other than nursing.

Due to positive feedback from students, all current students are invited to participate in the White Coat Ceremonies.


All ceremonies will be in the Holly Auditorium at UT Health San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229. The dates and times for the ceremonies are as follows:

  • 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4: Incoming fifth-semester TBSN cohort
  • 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5: Current fifth- and sixth-semester TBSN cohort
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5: Current seventh-semester TBSN cohort
  • 6 p.m. Friday, March 1: Current ABSN cohort

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons by Arnold P. Gold, M.D., who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic health care, believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late. Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.

Funding for the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing’s inaugural ceremonies was provided by the Gold Foundation through the generous support of its trustee and donor, Elaine Adler. The School of Nursing was among 50 nursing schools selected in 2018 to launch its first White Coat Ceremonies.

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