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U-M School of Nursing recognizes advanced practice students during second annual White Coat Ceremony

The University of Michigan School of Nursing held its second annual White Coat Ceremony Friday, April 16, in a virtual event honoring nearly 50 graduate students as they make their transition to advanced clinical practice. For advanced practice students, receiving a white coat represents a prestigious milestone, recognizing their essential role in the health care field and marking the next step in their journey to become primary and acute care nurse practitioners and midwives.

This year's ceremony carried added significance in light of the many challenges students faced while continuing their education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students were recognized for their responsiveness and resilience in reaching this point, which signifies an evolution of their nursing role and a significant step in expanding their scope of practice to impact health care and serve specific populations.

“This is a very important day for you. Enjoy this celebration, enjoy what it means and know that you will always be part of our school, you will always be valued and we will always be there with you,” said U-M School of Nursing Dean Patricia D. Hurn, Ph.D.,RN, FAAN, addressing the students. “You have a number of tests in front of you, and please remember that every one of those tests will tell a tale. And for you it will be a tale of intelligence, of commitment and of compassion."

In addition to the white coat presentation, the ceremony included remarks from faculty leadership and the students themselves, including Brock Willett, who is pursuing his Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner specialty program.

“It is an absolute honor to speak in front of you all today and, most importantly, to represent my fellow classmates and colleagues,” said Willett. “As we continue on this journey to become providers, this white coat becomes an emblem of continued trust and resilience. The white coat is a powerful symbol of transformation, and it can symbolize many things, but to me it symbolizes my purpose and my journey of becoming an APRN.”