BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan’s School of Nursing formally welcomed 33 rising juniors into the nursing program today with a formal White Coat Ceremony, which was held in Wesley Chapel on the West Virginia Wesleyan College campus.
The White Coat Ceremony honors the essential role nurses play in professional health care and recognizes their parity with their medical counterparts. Dr. Arnold Gold, professor at Columbia University, created the ceremony in 1993 for medical students. In 2014, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation began supporting White Coat Ceremonies for Nursing in partnership with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. It was believed that extending the tradition of the ceremony to include nurses would result in a stronger sense of community among health professionals and a more equal recognition of roles.
“You are joining the best profession there is; the most trusted profession. We’re counting on you – and we’re so very proud of you,” said Dr. Tina Straight, director of the WVWC School of Nursing. “This ceremony promotes the importance of humanistic, patient-centered care; welcomes new students into the profession; and reminds all of us of the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a nurse.”
For Ryan Blake ‘23, of Weston, his desire to become a nurse came from his personal experience.
“I was born prematurely at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and was given a 50/50 chance of survival, but from the stories I have been told, I received the best care possible,” Blake said. “I want to give the citizens of West Virginia the type of quality care that I received and more than that. I know that being at Wesleyan, I can achieve that goal.
“Receiving the white coat is the start of something bigger. It’s the realization that we are officially on the path to becoming exceptional nurses, in order to provide top-notch care to the citizens of West Virginia and beyond.”
Sky Pulliam ‘23, of Round Rock, Texas, added, “It’s nice to sometimes take a step back from the workload and the stress, and recognize our hard work and our achievements. We all deserve this.”
Pulliam plans to pursue additional education after nursing school.
“I want to make a difference in the mental health field,” she said. “I plan to be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, also an art therapist and counselor. I believe that medicine, psychology and art should be used as tools to treat patients holistically.”
Also receiving their white coats during the ceremony were Camille Caffas, of Leechburg, Pennsylvania; Brooklyn Detamore, of Weston, West Virginia; Ashley Downes, of Bel Air, Maryland; Amber Grimm, of Winfield, West Virginia; Kayla Grose, of Ridgeley, West Virginia; Madison Groves, of Frametown, West Virginia; Kierstyn Hall, of Weston, West Virginia; Madison Hendrigan, of Brockton, Massachusetts; Imani Jackson, of Akron, Ohio; Caitlin Josef, of Charleston, West Virginia; Pharrah Kelley, of Guymon, Oklahoma; Alexandria Kimbleton, of Bowden, West Virginia; Payton Kotol, of Buckhannon, West Virginia; Sierra Lawhorn, of Elkview, West Virginia; Haley Mallow, of Belington, West Virginia; Katharine Marshall, of Palm Harbor, Florida; Jessica Martin, of Summersville, West Virginia; Mariah O’Hara, of Buckhannon; Megan Perdue, of Clintonville, West Virginia; Hanna Reger, of Buckhannon, West Virginia; Kylee Savage, of Philippi, West Virginia; Courtney Shorts, of Purcellville, Virginia; Madison Small, of St. Catharine’s, Ontario; Ainsley Swanson, of Tucson, Arizona; Victoria Syrews, of Weston; Rielly Adisen Taylor, of Clay, West Virginia; Cierra Germaine Tolbert, of Fishers, Indiana; Kylie Toler, of Fulton, Maryland; Casey Watts of New Creek, West Virginia; Emily Wilcox, of Parkersburg, West Virginia; and Cordell Winters, of French Creek, West Virginia.