Erin O'Mary

COLUMBUS, Miss. – About 270 Mississippi University for Women nursing students pledged to provide the highest quality of care and services in their profession as part of the College of Nursing & Speech-Language Pathology’s inaugural White Coat Ceremony.

The ceremony, held today in Rent Auditorium, included nursing students from the associate of science in nursing program, bachelor of science in nursing program and master of science in nursing program.

Students were addressed by Mary Ellen Sumrall, chief nursing officer at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, who talked about nurses as superheroes.

Sumrall, who has been a nurse for more than 27 years, said while the white coat is symbolic of professionalism and care and compassion to most people, it is that and more to her.

“I have witnessed nurses do some miraculous things. So, when I see the white coat…I see a superhero,” she said. “And this white coat ceremony for me is like watching Superman getting his cape, or Batman getting his utility belt or Wonder Woman getting her indestructible bracelets.”

Sumrall’s speech was followed by the students being cloaked and taking an oath. As part of the oath, students pledged to consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering; act in a compassionate and trustworthy manner in all aspects of care, to apply their knowledge, experience and skills to the best of their abilities to assure optimal outcomes for patients; exercise sound professional judgment while abiding by legal and ethical requirements; accept the lifelong obligation to improve their professional knowledge and competence; and to promote, advocate for and strive to protect the health, safety and rights of the patient.

Johnathan Adams, a BSN senior from Biloxi, said, “Taking the oath and participating in the ceremony is all about patient advocacy. It signifies that we are here for the patients, which is at the center of what we are doing every day.”

Mallory Trotter, a BSN senior from Tupelo, added, “Every time we put on our white coat, it is reminder of why we chose this profession—providing the best nursing care possible to patients.”

Dr. Tammie McCoy, chair of the baccalaureate nursing program, said, “The ceremony is supposed to set the stage for the nursing school career and is usually held for entering students.”

White Coat Ceremonies have been held by medical schools for more than 20 years. An initiative by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing marks a coordinated effort to offer similar events at schools of nursing.

Sixty new nursing schools in 33 states, including the District of Columbia, were chosen to receive funding to inaugurate their own White Coat Ceremony in 2015 thanks to funds through The Arnold P. Gold Foundation.


Sept. 28, 2015
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
(662) 329-7124
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Dept. of Baccalaureate Nursing

Dr. Maria Scott

Martin Hall
Phone: (662) 329-7301

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.