February 26, 2015 | noon
By Lauren Pareigat, Communications Specialist for College of Arts & Sciences
Ninety students from the College of Arts & Sciences Class of 2017 were recently welcomed into the nursing program. This year, Bethel’s nursing program was selected as one of 100 schools in the nation to receive funding from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) to participate in an inaugural White Coat Ceremony for nursing students.
Previously, White Coat ceremonies have been held only for medical school students. But to support their mission of promoting humanistic and patient-centered care for health care professionals, the APGF began an effort to expand the ceremonies to include all professions in health care. They started by partnering with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to promote these ceremonies at nursing schools. According to Professor of Nursing Linda Anderson, “The initiative is significant because it recognizes the role nurses hold as important members of the health care team.”
Bethel’s ceremony took place in Benson Great Hall. Anderson introduced the keynote speaker, Bethel alumna and Adjunct Assistant Professor Rachel Stapleton ’10. Stapleton is a certified nurse-midwife who earned her doctor of nursing practice degree last spring and began her adjunct faculty role at Bethel last fall. She shared her experience in Bethel’s program and the key points in her education that led her to focus on obstetrics and midwifery. She encouraged the students to support one another as they complete the nursing program. To conclude, she offered the chorus lyrics from the song “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath as a prayer over the students.
As each student’s name was called, they walked across the stage to be cloaked with a white lab coat by junior and senior nursing students. The students received a pin that will visually remind them of their oath and commitment. Before returning to their seats, each student also received a New Testament from the Gideon Auxiliary as a spiritual tool during their time in the nursing program and beyond. After all students had been cloaked, Associate Professor of Nursing David Cheesebrow led them in a recitation of the Bethel University Nursing Student Oath. The oath committed the students to providing compassionate, Christ-centered care for their patients.
Two special components of Bethel’s ceremony were student-led worship and a Blessing of Hands, led by Beth Peterson, department chair and professor of nursing. This blessing is a common prayer among faith community nurses. Peterson invited the students and all other nurses in the audience to extend their hands, palms up, while she prayed for the presence of God for each person so they may pass it on to others.