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Nursing White Coat Ceremony Celebrates Students’ Entrance into Patient Care

One hundred forty-six white coats were recently presented to Sophomore II and CARE Class of 2024 students at LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing, one posthumously.

Dr. Demetrius Porche, Professor and Dean, presided over the School of Nursing’s White Coat Ceremony. Lisa Labat, RN, BSN, MBA, NEA-BC, Assistant Vice President for Nursing at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, delivered the Keynote Address. Faculty participants were Kendra Barrier, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Adele Harrell, PhD, MSN, RN, Program Director for the CARE BSN Program; Nicole Thomas, DNP, RN, CCM, Program Director for Traditional BSN Program; and Todd Tartavoulle, DNS, APRN, CNS-BC, Assistant Dean for Student Services. Jennifer Manning, DNS, ACNS-BC, CNE, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Nursing Programs and Program Director, Baccalaureate Articulation, read the students’ names. Dr. Alison Davis, Interim Associate Dean for Nursing Research, Science and Scholarship, also assisted with the ceremony.

While family and loved ones looked on, faculty “cloaked” each student, helping them don their crisp white coats with an LSU Health New Orleans patch on the pocket. The Arnold Gold Foundation, which began the tradition in 1993, says the White Coat Ceremony is a rite of passage that welcomes students to healthcare practice and elevates the value of humanism as the core of healthcare.

nursing white coat ceremony

Before presenting her family with her white coat, Dr. Porche and CARE students Alexandra Abide and Kentrel Johnson posthumously recognized J’Bria Bowens, a student in the CARE Program whose life was tragically and senselessly taken on December 30, 2022, in Belize.As significant as receiving a visible symbol of health care is the pledge that the students recited in unison. Led by class presidents, Connor Richoux, Sophomore II, and Alexandra Abide, CARE Class of 2024, the students pledged to consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering as their primary concerns, act in a compassionate and trustworthy manner, promote, advocate for and strive to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patients, among others promises.

Following the ceremony, the Bowens family and LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing faculty and students were able to exchange hugs and share memories, something that brought a measure of comfort.“I am honored that I was able to memorialize my dear friend and classmate J’Bria,” said Kentrel Johnson, MS. “The light she provided during the short time we had together will stick with me forever. I am thankful to the faculty and staff of the School of Nursing for providing her family with a white coat that she earned. The CARE 24 class will continue to bring J’Bria along with us wherever we go.”

Along with others wearing a lapel pin with the letter “J,” CARE Class President Alexandra Abide, MS, shared her remembrance of J’Bria. “She was a light to our class and our LSU community. She never knew a stranger, and she made sure to make everyone feel supported. We all knew J’Bria for her laugh, determination, and her ability to make those around her stress a little bit less.“The last message J’Bria sent in our class group message was sent at the end of a conversation we were having about being stressed out and anticipating our first dosage exam. Her message simply said, ‘I’m living, laughing, and loving’ at 3:57 pm on that day we lost her.

“Our class will never be the same without J’Bria. We will continue to think of her often and wear our ‘J’ pins in her honor as we progress through this program and our nursing careers. I hope that as a class, we can keep her last words to us in our hearts as encouragement to keep striving and to spend each day living, laughing, and loving like J’Bria did.”Nursing White Coat Ceremony

January 23, 2023

Article by: Leslie Capo, LSUHSC