First Year APN Students “Hold Our Hope”

Excitement and anticipation filled the room in Carnasale Commons on the UCLA campus as more than 100 first-year Advanced Practice Nursing students were joined by family and friends for the 2015 Advanced Practice White Coat Ceremony.

Similar to the white coat tradition at many medical programs, the cloaking ceremony is a rite of passage; its purpose is to instill a commitment in each recipient to providing compassionate care.

Interim Dean Linda Sarna opened the program with a welcome and history of the white coat ceremony a relatively new event which started in the medical schools, but has since expanded to nursing schools.  It symbolizes the transition from a bedside nurse into an advanced practice nurse.

Karen Grimley, the new Chief Nursing Executive at UCLA Health and assistant dean in the UCLA School of Nursing, was the special guest speaker. 

Grimley congratulated the group on achieving this milestone and reflected on her own nursing path, as she moved from clinical practice to her current leadership role. “I remember the unbridled enthusiasm to get out and make a difference.  Today, that passion for caring for patients turned into caring for staff.”

Turning to the theme of the evening, she reminded the students “when you put that jacket on, you wear it with pride.  Know that you are setting an example.”

“Nursing is the future of healthcare,” Grimley concluded.  “You have a big job ahead.  You hold our hope.”

Then it was time for the cloaking.  Each student stepped onto the stage, white coat in hand, and handed it to parents, spouses, significant others, friends and even a few children who helped them don the coats. The pride of the ceremony showed on the sparkling faces who exited the stage, now wearing the coat with pride and honor.

Anna Santos was honored to be part of the ceremony.  “I feel like it is my pledge to be the best nurse practitioner I can be.  A patient advocate sensitive to their needs and respect their rights.”

Santos was cloaked by her husband because “he has been my support system through this entire time and endures and sacrifices for me to achieve this personal goal.”

The ceremony concluded with the international nursing pledge, led by Lynn Doering, associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs and closing remarks from Jo-Ann Eastwood, program director for advanced practice.