The creation of a White Coat Ceremony

J Prof Nurs. 2020 Jul-Aug;36(4):218-222. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2020.01.004. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


Historically, the White Coat Ceremony has had a medical school connotation. While not exclusive to the discipline of medicine, the White Coat Ceremony is a recently adopted ritual embraced by a variety of health care professions. The white coat serves as a symbol of achievement into one's professional program. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the White Coat Ceremony as an emblematic transition into professional nursing education, to provide context of the use of symbolic ceremony in nursing, to describe the details of a White Coat Ceremony currently in place in a nursing college, and to discuss suggestions for replication. A survey to elicit student responses to the ceremonial event was achieved through an IRB study. Results obtained through a student survey were strongly favorable to the personal meaning as to participating in a White Coat Ceremony. The authors endorse the use of such a ceremony in professional nursing education settings.

Keywords: Nursing education; Professional identity; Traditions; Transition; White coat.

MeSH terms

  • Ceremonial Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Nursing*