The Hunt School of Nursing Class of 2022, made up of 78 students, received their first white coats during a ceremony at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso on Friday, Jan. 15. 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, the presentation of white coats and a keynote address. The socially distanced ceremony followed strict COVID-19 protocols and was live-streamed on the university’s Facebook page.
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.
“Every White Coat Ceremony is important, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s even more important to recognize these new nursing students,” said Stephanie Woods, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Hunt School of Nursing. “These students have seen what nurses are expected to do. They’re committing to meeting these expectations and the white coat is a symbol of that commitment.”
Members of the Class of 2022 now have their white coats as they embark on a career of selfless service.
Thanks to the generosity of TTUHSC El Paso’s community partners, nursing students received their white coats and stethoscopes at no cost. Through a generous donation, Broaddus & Associates, a local project management firm, sponsored 20% of students from the incoming class.
“Receiving my white coat is genuinely so validating, and every hardship I went through to get to this point has finally proven to have been worth it,” said Michelle Diaz, an incoming Hunt School of Nursing student. “I know the journey toward my career and life is only beginning, but receiving my white coat shows my purpose as a future nurse. I’m indescribably grateful for the opportunity to receive a white coat here as a TTUHSC El Paso student and have plans to wear it with pride.”
TTUHSC El Paso will celebrate the Hunt School of Nursing’s 10-year anniversary this year and its contributions to higher education, health care in the Paso del Norte region and combating the critical shortage of nurses in West Texas.
Since opening in 2011, the school has graduated more than 800 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) designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse for the vital role they play in providing health services. TTUHSC El Paso joined the WHO in a year-long effort to celebrate the work of nurses and highlight the challenging conditions they often face in the workforce.
Check out our photo gallery from the event: