Nursing students take oath at White Coat ceremony

The Valley Foundation School of Nursing hosted a white coat ceremony Dec. 5 at San José State University to commemorate the first semester nursing students’ move from classroom study to a combination of class and clinical instruction.

The event included the students taking an oath to uphold certain standards including the following during their careers as nurses:

  • Consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering primary concerns
  • Act in a compassionate way and trustworthy manner in all aspects of my care
  • Apply knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal outcomes for my patients
  • Exercise sound professional judgment while abiding by legal and ethical requirements
  • Accept the lifelong obligation to improve professional knowledge and competence
  • Promote, advocate for, and strive to protect the health, safety and rights of the patient.


The Valley Foundation School of Nursing Director Kathy Abriam-Yago, welcomed the students and their families to the event, with College of Applied Sciences and Arts Acting Associate Dean Pamela Richardson also addressing the students.

“Typically we come from the dean’s office to recognize and celebrate students as they graduate, but it is very special to be able to see you here at the beginning, to recognize this transformation you are undergoing into a healthcare professional,” Richardson said, during her comments. “You may not realize it yet, but this transformation is one of the most profound that you will undergo in your life.”

Richardson has a background in Occupational Therapy, a profession that requires clinical practice as well.

“Providing quality healthcare requires a great deal of each of us,” she said. “We often see people when they are at their most vulnerable and afraid. Dealing with trauma, illness, pain or loss on a daily basis requires strength and commitment.”

She also stressed that healthcare providers are part of a team.

“We challenge and support each other as well as our patients and work together to see that our patients receive the best that each of us has to offer,” she said.

Professor Sue Malloy shared the history of the white coat ceremony, which is conducted at universities around the United States for students in health care professions when they move onto the clinical part of their training.

Trudy Johnson, the chief nursing officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, one of the clinical sites where SJSU students train, served as the keynote speaker at the event.

As part of the ceremony, the students donned white coats and five nursing professors took turns pinning a pin that read “Humanism Excellence” on the students’ coats. At least 60 students participated in the ceremony.