For sixth year, AACN & Gold Foundation to expand White Coat Ceremony to more nursing schools

This announcement was first posted on May 7,2019, on the AACN website.

In a continued partnership with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is delighted to be expanding its support to nursing schools looking to host White Coat Ceremonies and instill an early commitment to compassionate care among the next generation of registered nurses. This year, the Gold Foundation is providing $50,000 to support these events, which underscore the need for those entering the nursing profession to provide high quality, patient-centered care in hospitals, in the community, and wherever care is needed. To date, the partnering organizations have provided financial and technical support to White Coat Ceremonies at 310 nursing schools in 49 states.

“We are proud to be partnering with AACN for the sixth year to extend the White Coat Ceremony to 50 more nursing schools,” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, President and CEO of the Gold Foundation. “We hope the ritual serves as a touchstone of humanism for these future nurses, a transformative event that they can lean on for support as they care for their patients with compassion.”

“The ongoing expansion of the nursing White Coat Ceremony is possible only because of the generosity of our Board Trustee Elaine Adler,” Dr. Levin added. “We are grateful for her steadfast support of humanism in nursing.”

Since 1993, White Coat Ceremonies have served as a rite of passage for new medical students who commit at the start of medical school to compassionate, collaborative care for all patients. Recognizing the role that all health professionals must play in providing compassionate care, the Gold Foundation and AACN began partnering in 2014 to showcase nursing’s role in advancing patient care. AACN member schools are adapting these ceremonies to fit the needs of academic nursing, including developing a new oath that aligns with the profession’s approach to care delivery.

“Patients expect their healthcare providers to show compassion and be attentive to their individual needs,” said Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors. “AACN applauds The Arnold P. Gold Foundation for its generous support of White Coat Ceremonies that highlights the importance of compassion to providing humanistic, team-based care and improving health outcomes.”

This year, AACN will select 50 schools interested in hosting a Gold-AACN White Coat Ceremony for new nursing students in Fall 2019. Participating schools will receive $1,000 in financial support to host a ceremony, which typically features the recitation of an oath, receipt of a commemorative Gold Foundation pin, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests. The specially designed pin symbolizes the student’s role in championing compassionate care. These events also may include a welcome by the dean, the president of an affiliated hospital, or other respected leader who represents the value system of the school and the profession the students are about to enter.

Nursing schools interested in establishing their own White Coat Ceremony tradition are encouraged to complete the online application. All applications must be received by July 1, 2019. The criteria that will be considered when selecting schools for this program include the application submission date, geographic diversity, and representation among AACN’s four institutional types: Small Schools; Academic Health Centers (AHCs); Private School without an AHC; and Public School without an AHC. Note: Schools that previously have received funding to host a White Coat Ceremony will not be eligible to apply for new funding this year.

For more information about this program, please contact AACN’s Nursing Education Assistant Jabari Cooper at


The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is an international nonprofit organization devoted to keeping healthcare human through compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care. Founded in 1988, with strong roots in medical education, the Gold Foundation has expanded to embrace today’s challenges and the whole healthcare team – nurses, hospital staff, medical executives, caregivers – with patients at the center. The Gold Foundation’s signature programs include the iconic White Coat Ceremony, the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and Tell Me More®. Through these and other programs, we infuse the human connection in healthcare, to ensure that human interests, values and dignity are placed at the core of teaching and practice.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing education. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice.


Robert Rosseter
AACN Chief Communications Officer
202-463-6930, ext. 231