The white coat has been called a “cloak of compassion.” It is meant to welcome new students into their chosen health care profession and to establish an expectation that students demonstrate compassion, as well as scientific proficiency in delivering care. Receiving the white coat at the College of Nursing signifies the point in a student nurse’s program when he or she is ready to begin hands-on clinical learning.
For the Accelerated BSN students who started the program in May, this important ceremony took place at the College of Nursing in June. Students from the Gainesville and Jacksonville cohorts received their coats and took the oath that ensures a foundation and commitment to providing patient-centered care.
Gator Nurse alumna Natalie LeBlanc served as the White Coat Ceremony keynote speaker. LeBlanc was a graduate of the College of Nursing’s Accelerated BSN program in 2012. She now serves as an assistant professor and the Dean’s Endowed Fellow in Health Disparities at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. Prior to attending nursing school, she was a public health specialist with the New York City Health Department working closely with HIV clients. Her passion in working with vulnerable individuals led her to the University of Miami, where she received her PhD.
LeBlanc spoke to the students about thinking about their own motivation and encouraged them to be open to learning and mindful of the bigger health disparities that exist.
“Understand and know that everything you’ve done in life and every experience you’ve had has brought you here. There are no coincidences,” LeBlanc said.