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Phoenix Forward magazine

For new family nurse practitioners, white coat ceremony marks a new chapter in their lives

White coat ceremony

One by one, graduates walked up to the stage, each accompanied by a family member chosen for the honor of "coating," or putting a white coat on the respective graduate, to mark the transition from registered nurse to family nurse practitioner (FNP).

The white coat ceremony has become a rite of passage for those who’ve completed several years of rigorous study in the family nurse practitioner program at the University of Phoenix College of Nursing. Spouses, children, grandparents and academic advisors who supported the graduates throughout their studies shared in the celebration November 28 in Phoenix.

Gwen Wodiuk, graduate nursing program manager, says the ceremony is a way to formally acknowledge the advancement from nurse to provider. “It’s a nice way to recognize the time they’ve put in and for their families to recognize their accomplishment,” she says of the graduates.

Donning their personalized white coats after the ceremony, the graduates stood with nursing faculty members and recited the oath for advanced practice nurses, a variation of the Hippocratic Oath for medical doctors.

FNP graduates at white coat ceremony

Several graduates reflected on what motivated them to pursue their FNP degrees.

Tracey Bombara, a nurse for 23 years, said she felt left behind as peers moved on to other opportunities, and knew it was time for a change. Alireza Mazoury, a 19-year nursing veteran said he knew he needed to make himself more marketable. Cynthia Bool, a full-time nursing instructor, said she wanted to help patients in her rural community near the Grand Canyon.

All admitted they couldn’t believe graduation day had finally arrived. For them, the white coat ceremony may have marked the culmination of years of sacrifice and hard work, but it also signaled the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

Mazoury planned to work for a year as an FNP before opening his own office to help underserved populations in a remote area of Arizona. Bool announced she would sign a lease the next day for her new family practice, which she planned to open in January. She also intended to enroll in a doctorate program.

Several faculty members at the ceremony encouraged the new graduates to someday become FNP instructors at University of Phoenix, just as Wodiuk did after earning her FNP several years ago.

“It’s exciting to see you finish and to know that you’ve put in a lot of work and effort,” Wodiuk said. “I now see you not as students, but as colleagues.”


Photos: David Matteson

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