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Tech nursing students pledge care and compassion at special white coat ceremony

White Coat Ceremony Group Photo 2017

On Tuesday, October 24, more than 60 faculty, staff, students and family members attended the Gold-AACN White Coat Ceremony for 21 sophomore nursing students at WVU Tech.

The event served to bring these students into the fold of the nursing professional and highlight their commitment to the field.

At the ceremony, students pledged to uphold the standards of the program, conduct themselves in a “caring and compassionate manner” and “work earnestly and honestly to achieve the highest level of knowledge” to prepare themselves for a career in nursing.

Crystal Sheaves, Ph.D., RN, APRN, FNP-BC and chair of the nursing department at Tech, said that the event was a rite of passage that nursing students look forward to as they reach this milestone in their educational careers.

“Our white coat pledge ceremony is where we acknowledge and welcome them into the nursing profession. They take their pledge to devote themselves to caring – caring about their patients and caring about their studies. We're here to honor them," she said.

Abigail Spangler, a nursing student from Lewisburg, West Virginia, was one of those recognized.

She's currently working as a nurse aid at the hospital in Lewisburg, and is enthusiastic about what a degree in the field can do to open up her career options.

"I'm just very excited to be able to care for patients at an even higher level, and this program is allowing me to do that," she said.

She has a few years to decide her path after Tech, and she's thinking about nurse practitioner school or CRNA school. But for now, it’s a pledge and focusing on the work ahead. She said she feels like she’s part of something special at Tech.

"I enjoy my classmates and my teachers. They're very approachable and very friendly, and they're all just willing to help each other to learn," she said. 

The ceremony was made possible in part through a $1,000 grant awarded by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Only 50 schools in the nation were selected, and the WVU nursing programs in Morgantown and Beckley were the only schools selected in the state for the award.

"I think it shows that we really are working hard to achieve excellence in nursing,” said Sheaves. “We're working hard to instill in our nursing students a love of the profession and that caring attitude that nurses have."

Photos from the event are available in our flickr album.