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Elms College Hosts White-coat Ceremony for DNP Students

CHICOPEE — Elms College’s School of Nursing recently held a white-coat ceremony to honor the college’s third class of DNP (doctor of nursing practice) students as they move from the classroom into clinical practice training. The 17 honorees started the program in fall 2016 and will begin their clinical practice in January.

“This ceremony formally acknowledges that our DNP students will begin their clinical rotations within regional healthcare facilities and practice settings, specific to their advanced nursing-specialty track,” said Teresa Kuta Reske, director of Doctoral Studies and program development for the DNP program at Elms College.

The ceremony included remarks from Kathleen Scoble, dean of the School of Nursing, and Elms President Harry Dumay, as well as an oath, a blessing of the white coats, and the presentation of the coats to the students.

“Your chosen profession, or should I say your vocation, is needed more than ever,” Dumay told the honorees. “While advances in science and technology contribute to extend life expectancy and to prolong individuals’ active participation in society, the demands on our healthcare system are more numerous and complex. The need for practitioners who are trained at the highest level, with multiple skills and real-life experiences, who are ready to reinvent themselves as knowledge expands and technology evolves, is more acute today than ever. Your training as a doctor of nursing practice is preparing you well to meet today’s and tomorrow’s societal needs.”

In the keynote address, Lisa Erickson, director of Advanced Practitioners for Baystate Health System, told the white-coat honorees to “go your own way. Do not let a job description define you or your role. Go into territory that is new or less known, or even completely unknown. You are ever-evolving — your role will always evolve. As Thoreau wrote, ‘go confidently in the direction of your dreams.’”

The Elms College DNP program addresses the growing need for advanced-practice nurses in adult and family care as the population ages and the demand for primary care continues to grow, Scoble said. “Our first DNP-NP class has graduated and entered the practice field, and our second cohort will be graduating this spring. We are delighted to be marking the passage of our third cohort into their advanced-practice clinical training.”

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