White Coat Ceremony

Photo of White Coat Ceremony

Cal State LA Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing Inaugural White Coat Ceremony


Dr. Arnold P. Gold, a physician at Columbia University School of Medicine questioned the practice of having physicians take the Hippocratic Oath at the end of their medical training. He believed that 4 years later was too late. Dr. Gold thought that students should affirm their role as a health caregiver at the beginning of their academic career, so in 1993 he started the first White Coat Ceremony for Physicians. In just a few years the ceremony was adopted by nearly every medical school in North America.


It wasn’t until 2014 (2 decades later) that the Arnold P. Gold Foundation partnered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to support a White Coat Ceremony for nurses. Now more than 160 nursing schools have adopted the Arnold P. Gold White Coat Ceremony.

Photo of White Coat CeremonyThe most important component of the ceremony is the oath that students take in front of family, friends, and faculty. The Ceremony and the oath serve as a rite of passage. A lapel pin provided by the Gold Foundation commemorates the occasion. The pin contains an inscription that serves as a visual reminder to students that in order to deliver the best patient care compassion and empathy must be the hallmark of clinical practice.