Sixth Annual White Coat Ceremony
The Class of 2022 nursing students celebrated their transition from the classroom to clinical practice at the sixth annual White Coat Ceremony.
Nursing Professor Diana Llamas, M.S.N., presented each student with a white lab coat, a symbol of the health care profession. The act confirmed the students' commitment to the noble profession of nursing and to the mission of the Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing: promoting quality health care of individuals, families and communities to alleviate ignorance, poverty, injustice and hunger.
St. Louis nursing faculty Renée L. Davis, interim coordinator of the traditional BSN program in nursing, and Kris L’Ecuyer, associate dean for undergraduate education & pre-licensure nursing education, connected via videoconference to address the students. Davis reminded students to treat the profession as an honor while L’Ecuyer offered her advice: to remain inspired and grateful.
Health Sciences Program Director, Tania de la Fuente, Ph.D., introduced this year’s keynote speakers: Carlos Cruz-Salazar Cruz, Ph.D., and Patricia Fernández Cahill, D.U.E., who work in the NICU at HM Montepríncipe and teach at the Universidad CEU San Pablo de Madrid.
In a lively joint speech, Cruz-Salazar and Férnandez spoke about the evolution of the nursing profession as affected by science and technology. As the profession has become more technical, it can be easy to forget to accompany patients in their health journeys. They reminded students to never forget to treat patients with humanity, citing the values that drew them to the profession to begin with. Fernández also read a letter aloud that was sent to the NICU at HM Montepríncipe by the parents of a child who ultimately died due to a congenital heart defect. The message was clear: in clinical practice, the caregiver-patient-family relationship matters, profoundly.
Student speaker Mckenna Toussaint ('22) echoed this sentiment: the nursing profession is about people and relationships. “Nursing is so unique because we don’t just treat the disease but the patient as a whole. As I progress through nursing school, I find myself more and more drawn to this way in which nurses apply their knowledge,” she said. “Today at our white coat ceremony, we are making a commitment to this one, very special profession...” Toussaint, who decided to study abroad at SLU’s Madrid Campus for her full sophomore year, will start doing her clinical practicum this spring semester at a Spanish hospital.
Also participating in the event were SLU-Madrid faculty Jane Billinghurst, M.S.N., Healther Sañudo, M.S.N., and Anya Hillery, Ph.D., who together with Llamas, de la Fuente, Cruz-Salazar, and Fernández Cahill, ceremoniously cloaked the students with their white coats.
Taieb Gasmi, Ph.D., associate dean for science and engineering, concluded the event with words of tribute.
The following 44 students were honored at the ceremony:
Mary Catherine May
Andrew Lovine Videna