UMaine School of Nursing to celebrate largest first-year class in decades with White Coat Ceremony

Maine will be one step closer to closing the gap in its health care workforce when 115 University of Maine School of Nursing students — the largest first-year class in recent history — take an oath of compassionate care on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.

Nearly 300 parents, teachers, alumni and students will gather at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and American Association of Colleges of Nursing White Coat Ceremony.

“The most important element of the ceremony is the oath that students take in front of family members, school leadership and their peers to acknowledge their central obligation to care for patients,” says Mary Walker, director of the School of Nursing.

During the ceremony, the students will also receive a white nursing coat and lapel pin that reads, “Keeping Healthcare Human.”

“The tenor of the gift is directed toward emphasizing that science is informed by compassionate care. These pins serve as a visual reminder to students that, in order to deliver the best care to their patients, compassion and empathy must be the hallmarks of their clinical practice,” Walker says.

Only 50 programs are competitively selected to receive the Gold Foundation funding each year. The University of Maine’s School of Nursing was the first in the University of Maine System and the only program in the state selected to receive grant funding for the ceremony this year.

School of Nursing alumna Karen Clements, chief nursing officer of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, will address the class as the evening’s keynote speaker. UMaine President Susan J. Hunter and Fred Servello, dean of the UMaine College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture, will also speak during the event.

By 2022, there is an expected shortfall of 3,300 nurses in Maine, and 100,000 nationwide. To address this growing need, the University of Maine lifted its undergraduate enrollment cap from 85 to 115 students for this year’s incoming class in the School of Nursing.

Contact: Erin Miller, 207.581.3204