Today@Sam Article

Nursing Ceremony Signifies Big First Step

Sept. 7, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton


Walking across a stage in front of your friends, family, faculty and fellow students typically signifies an end to the college experience. However, on Friday, Sept. 7, that walk marked the beginning for Sam Houston State nursing students.

The SHSU School of Nursing welcomed 78 students into their fifteenth cohort with the White Coat Ceremony held at The Woodlands Center campus. The White Coat Ceremony is held at the beginning of each semester to signify a student’s transition from traditional studies into the clinical health sciences of the School of Nursing. 

SHSU admitted the first cohort of nursing students in 2011, with 20 students and five faculty. Currently there are more than 300 students as well as 37 faculty and staff members, and the program has produced 386 graduates. With each class, SHSU cements itself as a great name in healthcare. SHSU School of Nursing Director Denise Neill says that these new faces bring fresh ideas and drive in to the program.

"We as a staff feel energized when these new cohorts of students come in," Neill said. "They are just so excited to get their white coats and begin their education in healthcare. Everything is exciting and new to them, and we feel that energy and it motivates us to begin each semester."600WhiteCoat

These students are entering a workforce in demand. Currently in Texas there are 320,000 registered nurses, and surprisingly 90,000 of those nurses are over the age of 55. 

“Nursing is both an art and a science,” Neill said. “We provide support both emotionally and physically for our patients. It takes a special person to be a nurse, so we want to recognize these students are they take on this life changing career.”

The White Coat Ceremony is a relatively new tradition at SHSU, beginning in 2014. SHSU Provost Richard Eglsaer explained the significance to the auditorium full of students, their families, faculty and staff.

“Today as you get your white coat, it is a symbol of your professionalism,” Eglsaer said. “As you put that on today, smile and realize you are on your way. But, also realize there are a lot of responsibilities that go with that. It is such a noble profession. I congratulate you, and wish you well. We look forward to seeing you walk across the stage again, this time as a graduate, in just a few short years."

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