Example Nursing Ceremonies

Below are examples of how nursing programs used different and unique features to make the humanistic pledge or oath ceremony their own.

Visit our Nursing Ceremony Toolkit for more resources to incorporate into your ceremony including a virtual keynote address, video montage of inspiring photos, example oaths, downloadable templates, and more.

Carroll College Nursing Department, Helena, Montana

The Carroll College Nursing Department held its annual White Coat and Hand Blessing ceremony in its All Saints campus chapel. The campus string ensemble provided music. Approximately 60 nursing students attended along with a couple dozen friends and family as well as nursing faculty and staff. After an opening prayer, a faculty member from the nursing department delivered a keynote about “Keeping Healthcare Human.” Students placed pins on each other’s white coats and then a nursing student lead all nurses and nursing students in reading the nursing pledge, which was printed in the ceremony program. This was followed by a reflection by the campus chaplain and a hand blessing read by nursing staff. Attendees enjoyed a reception afterwards in the chapel lobby.

Oak Point University College of Nursing, Oak Brook, Illinois

Oak Point University takes pride in offering educational opportunities to non-traditional students. During the ceremony for this nursing program, where the majority of students are working professionals looking for a career change and older students who are balancing family, work and educational responsibilities, several faculty were asked to come forward to give a brief recount of the history of the Nightingale Pledge and led the students and other faculty members in a call and response of a modern iteration of the pledge.

Each student received a laminated copy of the pledge, intended to be added to their ID badge as a reminder of the pledge they made alongside a golden nursing lamp pin and the Gold Foundation lapel pin to serve as additional reminders of this important educational milestone in their academic journey. Additionally, seven offices and student groups dedicated to supporting students during their academic journey each had a table at the reception where students could ask questions or gather information: Office of Student Life; Office of Student Services; Office of Financial Aid; Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society; Counseling & Wellness; Office of Student Success, and the Oak Point University Library.

University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Twin Cities and Rochester, Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Welcome to the Nursing Profession/Oath Ceremony for Nursing featured a keynote speaker and remarks from three student leaders (2 bachelor, 1 master of nursing). Each incoming student introduced themselves (name and hometown) as they crossed the stage. In addition, they received a gift bag containing the following items: printed bookmark listing School of Nursing (SON) pre-licensure competencies, a 1-year NSNA membership, university-branded chocolates, a travel-size hand sanitizer, a lapel pin from the Gold Foundation, and a Nursing Code of Ethics bookmark. The event was attended by nearly all 207 incoming pre-licensure students (bachelor of science in nursing and master of nursing) and nursing faculty and staff. The SON hosted a brief networking opportunity in the theatre’s atrium and adjacent patio, which included a table hosted by the Nursing Alumni Society with a SON-branded gift.

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

During the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing Clinical Sequence Welcome, undergraduate nursing students are welcomed into their first clinical sequence of classes through a ceremony that involves presenting a challenge coin to each student. Various faculty speak with students about the clinical component of their nursing education as well as compassion in nursing, and the dean tells the story of the NYU Meyers Coin and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation pin, which all students receive at the ceremony. The undergraduate nursing student organization president also speaks and welcomes the new clinical students on behalf of the Meyers student leaders.

Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

In addition to reading the nursing pledge, students and faculty at this ceremony signed a wall hanging with the pledge that was displayed in the school until the student’s graduation. The ceremony included presentations for Preceptor of the Year Award and Community Partner Award and featured organ music accompaniment. One of the keynote speakers, president of the Student Nurses Association, advised the students entering clinical rotations to “…Be sure to add ‘yes’ to your vocabulary at clinicals and use it excessively!” as she recounted how the procedure she observed had a personal connection to an experience of a loved one. Wisely, she also advised that “you cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself first. Find a hobby, a creative outlet, a support system, take time for your mental and physical health, and be ready to learn every single day.”

Eastern Illinois University School of Nursing, Charleston, Illinois

The White Coat Ceremony took place in a campus auditorium, beginning with introductory remarks from the nursing school chair, the university president, and the provost and vice president of academic affairs. The keynote speaker, a veteran nurse and leader from a community health center, shared her experience and many stories that helped her to remember that the patient is the center of nursing care. This was the first ceremony of its kind at the university, and it was very well attended. Students and family voiced their pleasure in having an opportunity to celebrate the students’ success thus far in their journey. One student stated that having the ceremony made her feel like she was a part of the healthcare community and that it was a great transition from learning in the classroom to learning in the clinical.

Harding University Carr College of Nursing, Searcy, Arkansas

This candle lighting ceremony honored students entering the master of science in nursing-family nurse practitioner program. Students received a lab coat emblazoned with the school’s logo as well as a lamp and a candle that was lit during the ceremony to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s nighttime aid to wounded soldiers by candlelight.

Baker College of Owosso School of Nursing, Owosso, Michigan

This ceremony was held in an outdoor tent on campus due to Covid restrictions at the time. Each student was permitted two guests and program faculty and leadership were in attendance, for a total of 100. The program director and dean opened the ceremony with remarks and students took the oath prior to receiving coats at the front. Guests received boxed meals as they exited the site after the ceremony. The College promoted the program on their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages, and published a summary of the event on their website.

Emory & Henry College School of Nursing, Emory, Virginia

Students pledged a commitment to ethical and compassionate care during their first nursing white coat ceremony held in early 2022, with college leadership, faculty, friends and family members in attendance. A pianist accompanied students in their procession, and the ceremony included video remarks given by the Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and leaders from a local healthcare system. Students received a stethoscope as a gift from the school of nursing.

Shenandoah University School of Nursing, Winchester, Virginia

This school held a hybrid format with some students in person and others attending virtually. Students present in person were cloaked by a faculty member while the virtual students either had a loved one cloak them or they cloaked themselves. Faculty then led students in reciting the Shenandoah University Advanced Practitioner Oath. Personalized gifts were also purchased for the students including a stethoscope charm with their name on it and cookies in the form of white coats with their names on them. They also had a cake featuring the Gold Foundation logo.

Stony Brook University School of Nursing, Stony Brook, New York

For Stony Brook University School of Nursing’s Oath Ceremony, faculty presented a white satchel to each student, as the school does not require white coats in an effort to avoid adding a financial burden on the students. Each satchel contained, the “Keeping Healthcare Human” lapel pin, the pocket card with a short inspirational message from the Gold Foundation and its founder, Dr. Arnold Gold, and an ANA code of Ethics for Nurses bookmark.

Colorado University College of Nursing, Aurora, Colorado

The inaugural ceremony included several advanced practice specialties (FNP, CNS, AGNP, AGANP, Primary Care PNP, Acute Care PNP, WHNP, PMHNP).

University of Phoenix College of Nursing, Phoenix, Arizona

This ceremony was held for members of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program. During the coating portion of the ceremony, each student and their family were recognized individually, and students were invited to share individual reflections. They recited the Oath for Advanced Practice Nurses. A professional photographer was hired to document the event.