Hunt School of Nursing Class of 2021 Presented with White Coats

The Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing Class of 2021, made up of 76 students, received their first white coats during a ceremony at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso on Sept. 4. TTUHSC El Paso is the only El Paso university to hold white coat ceremonies for its nursing students.      

The White Coat Ceremony featured the recitation of a student oath and the presentation of white coats. The socially distanced ceremony, allowed for one student at a time to enter the Hunt School of Nursing building, followed strict COVID-19 protocols.

The White Coat Ceremony is a traditional rite of passage welcoming students to health care practice. It provides a powerful emphasis on compassion in combination with scientific excellence. The most important element of the ceremony is the oath students take to acknowledge their central obligation of caring for the patient.

Community partners Sunflower Bank and Guardian Mortgage generously sponsored the cost of half the white coats and stethoscopes for the incoming nursing students, while Ethos Financial sponsored a gift of five white coats and stethoscopes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's White Coat Ceremony incorporated social distancing.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s White Coat Ceremony incorporated face masks and social distancing.

This is the first Hunt School of Nursing class to have their white coats and stethoscopes sponsored as they embark on a career of selfless service. We are very grateful for their generous investment in our students and future nurses for our community. We are thankful for their support of our front-line health care heroes.

“The White Coat Ceremony is a recognition that the nursing student is taking on new professional accountabilities,” said Stephanie Woods, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Hunt School of Nursing. “The white coat represents to the community that the student is now becoming a health care professional. It’s critical that the student take on new responsibilities for the health of the community they serve.”

Dr. Woods added that community members will recognize them as health care professionals, and with that recognition comes accountability for safe and competent nursing care.

“I feel very privileged to receive my white coat,” said Victoria Dorch, an incoming Hunt School of Nursing student. “To me, it feels like being welcomed into a passionate and honorable community, a united community with the common goal of caring for our city.”

Dorch knew from a young age that she wanted to be in the health care field, after her father and grandfather experienced serious illnesses.

Dorch began volunteering and shadowing physicians and nurses at a hospital, and the pieces fell into place – she wanted to be a nurse. It became clear to her that nurses were the heart of the hospital, involved in nearly every aspect of patient care.

“I’m very grateful for the fact that this ceremony is possible because of the generous donors who believe in us and our ability to make an impact,” Dorch said.

In 2021, TTUHSC El Paso will celebrate the Hunt School of Nursing’s 10-year anniversary. Since opening in 2011, the school has graduated more than 600 students, with 90% of those graduates staying in the region. The school of nursing currently has partnerships with every hospital in the El Paso community, which includes both clinical rotation opportunities and job placement post-graduation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse for the vital role they play in providing health services. TTUHSC El Paso joins the WHO in a year-long effort to celebrate the work of nurses and highlighting the challenging conditions they often face in the workforce.

There are still opportunities to make a gift and sponsor a white coat and stethoscope for an incoming student in the Hunt School of Nursing Class of 2021. To donate, visit:

crowdfund.give2tech.com/project/21304

Check out our photo gallery from the White Coat Ceremony: