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North Parker Magazine Winter 2023

Nursing Students Receive White Coats

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The iconic ceremony celebrates nursing students as they embark on their education.

Nursing students at White Coat Ceremony

This fall, students in North Park’s nursing program received their white coats in an iconic ritual honoring them for their “compassion and scientific excellence.”

“This ceremony confirms the support and mentoring you will receive from us as nurses and as your faculty,” said Dr. Peggy Kotowski, the Baccalaureate Program Director for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Schools across the country hold similar ceremonies for new nursing students.

Keynote speaker Kathy Donofrio, a nurse at Swedish Hospital for nearly 30 years in cardiac care, said that she kept at her challenging job because colleagues become “like family. It becomes your home away from home.”

“Have fun, be part of a team, ask a lot of questions, and make friends, not only with your fellow nurses, but other staff and even the physicians,” she advised. “They will become your team.”

Fourth-year nursing student Nicole Hansen offered words of encouragement to the new students.

“These have been the most challenging but rewarding years of my life,” Hanson said. “My classmates and I have persisted through all kinds of adversity.”

Go forth and set the world on fire.—Dr. Peggy Kotowski, Baccalaureate Program Director for SNHS

Nursing student putting on white coat at ceremony

“This is just the beginning. You’ve just finished your third week of nursing school. At times you will feel overwhelmed and stressed and say ’why did I choose nursing?’” Hanson said. “We’ve all been there. The stress will all be worth it after your first patient. Everyone has to start somewhere.”

Hanson summed up: “Being a nurse is not just helping people but advocating for your patients and making sure they receive the best possible care.”

After receiving their white coats, the students were given a blessing by Campus Pastor Terence Gadsden. Dr. Kotowski had some final words of advice: “Go forth and set the world on fire.”

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