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Nursing White Coat Ceremony January 2011
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Nursing Students Celebrate Historic White Coat Ceremony

Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2011 [11:58 PM]

Nursing White Coat Ceremony01
Members of the first LWC nursing class and nursing faculty gather in W.W. Slider
Humanities Center Recital Hall.

COLUMBIA, Ky. -- A group of Lindsey Wilson College students made history on Saturday afternoon as they participated in the first white coat ceremony in college history.

The 22 students who comprise the college's first nursing class will not receive their bachelor of science degree in nursing until May 2013. Saturday afternoon's ceremony, however, was a significant step in their educational journey because it symbolized that they are nearing the midway point of their undergraduate nursing education.

"Today marks the beginning of our journey into professionalism," said LWC nursing student Shannon Mester of Greensburg, Ky.

Each of the 19 students who participated in Saturday's ceremony was presented a white lab coat with their names embroidered above the left breast pocket. Dr. Phil Aaron of Aaron Medical Center purchased the coats for the students.

 "Dr. Aaron and I -- in addition to the community -- have for years wished and prayed for a nursing program here, and we are ecstatically happy that it is available to us," Diane Theiry, a nurse practitioner with Taylor Regional Hospital in Campbellsville, Ky., said during the ceremony.

Theiry added that Taylor Regional Hospital looks forward to working with the LWC nursing students.

 In his keynote address, Aaron told the students "you're on the threshold of having great opportunities."

 "This represents a new beginning, you are becoming part of the health profession," Aaron said.

 Aaron told the students that substantively, their white coats will shield them from blood, vomit and other liquids they will encounter while serving patients.

 But Aaron said the white coats also carry deep symbolic significance -- representing authority, expertise and comfort to those they will serve one day as nurses.

 "Your white coat symbolically gives you authority. … Once you put this white coat on, you have authority," he said.

 Aaron encouraged the students to decorate their coats with pins that are embedded with significance to them. For example, his white coat includes two pins: an angel, which serves as a reminded about one of his former patients; and a facsimile of a pink ribbon, which symbolizes his efforts to fight breast cancer.

 Although the students will not receive a bachelor of science degree in nursing for more than two years, several of the students said they are already counting down the days until they become licensed nurse.

 "It is a great honor to be a part of this program, and I look forward to joining the professional community one day," said Phillip Neikirk of Science Hill, Ky.

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Click here to see more pictures from the ceremony. 

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