HCN News & Notes

Elms College Holds White-coat Ceremony Honoring Doctor of Nursing Practice Students

CHICOPEE — Elms College School of Nursing hosted its fifth annual white-coat ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 4, honoring the fifth cohort of students in the college’s doctor of nursing practice (DNP) Program. The 17 students who received their white coats at the ceremony started in the DNP program in the fall of 2018.

“This ceremony has become a tradition for the nurse-practitioner students in the DNP program and marks a significant milestone in their studies as they begin their advanced nursing-practice clinical experiences,” said Teresa Kuta Reske, director of the DNP program at Elms College. Next month, the DNP students will begin their clinical rotations specific to their advanced nursing-specialty concentrations at regional healthcare facilities and in practice settings.

The DNP white-coat ceremony included opening remarks from School of Nursing Dean Kathleen Scoble, remarks from Elms College President Harry Dumay, a blessing of the white coats, and the presentation of the coats to the students. New to this year’s ceremony was a ‘blessing of the hands,’ a special prayer to bless the hands of the DNP students as they care for patients, symbolizing one of the fundamental aspects of healthcare — the human touch. 

“In today’s healthcare system, you will play an important role in the continuum of care, no matter whether your work is clinical or administrative,” Dumay said in his speech to the DNP students. “Our healthcare system has been rapidly changing, and, as our population ages, the need for primary-care providers and effective, efficient leadership continues to increase.”

Added Scoble, “the Elms College DNP program addresses the growing need for advanced-practice nurses in adult and family care. Through this invaluable experience, graduates of our DNP program have mastered the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the challenges of our complex healthcare system.” 

The keynote speaker was Dr. George Deering III, adjunct clinical professor in the DNP program. He earned his medical degree from UMass Medical School and completed his internal-medicine residency at Berkshire Medical Center. Deering practiced at Baystate as a full-time emergency physician until his retirement in 2015. For the last three years, he has been an adjunct DNP faculty instructor in advanced pathophysiology for the Elms College School of Nursing.

The DNP degree is a clinical-practice doctorate in an advanced specialty of nursing practice. In May 2021, these 17 DNP graduates will be eligible to take the advanced certification examination in one of the two specialty concentrations: family nurse practitioner or adult gerontology acute-care nurse practitioner. The School of Nursing also offers a DNP degree for master’s-prepared nurses in the health-systems innovation and leadership concentration.