by Bailey Jarnagin

CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews) – The Truett-McConnell Division of Nursing officially welcomed twenty-six students into the program on Tuesday, October 13, during the third annual White Coating Ceremony at the Cleveland Worship Center.

The importance of the white coat

The ceremony provided first year nursing students with the opportunity to have family and friends honor the students’ academic achievements prior to the commencement of their clinical rotations in the hospitals. Donning their white lab coats and stethoscope, the students pledged their dedication to practice compassionate nursing.

Faculty member and keynote speaker Deborah Alvater explained the significance of the white coat: “The white coat has an area of trust,” she said. “It ensures the competency of those who wear it. As soon as you accept the white coat, you are committing to practice nursing with this duty.”

Dr. Brad Reynolds, Vice President of Academic Services, explained the necessity for those who desire to enter into the field of nursing to have a firm grasp on the concepts of medicine, as well a deep love of people, He spoke highly of the profession to which these students are called: “There is no better profession than nursing that models the servanthood of Christ.”

The journey to nursing

Each nursing student who participated in the Coating Ceremony has a unique story of how God called them to their career. Catherine Smith, a junior at TMC, has looked forward to serving others in the medical field the majority of her life because of the influence of her mother, who is a registered nurse.

“I can remember being little and listening to all the stories my mom would tell me after she came home from work.” Smith shared. “My junior year of high school I knew I wanted to be a part of Truett-McConnell’s nursing program so that I would not only learn how to bring people help in the physical sense, but also to do the same spiritually.”

Junior Mallory Dollar just recently decided to pursue nursing, and God continues to affirm her decision every day. “God took me on a mission trip in January of 2015 and He allowed me to be a part of the most incredible medical mission team,” Dollar recollected. “I knew the Lord was doing a huge work in my life when He opened the door for me to go to nursing school.”

Looking ahead

The anxiousness coupled with excitement to begin clinical rotations is a shared feeling among all those who received their white coats and stethoscopes at the ceremony. “I’m looking forward to getting hands-on experience,” said junior Meredith Mellard. “I’m also looking forward to interacting with patients!”

The senior nursing majors attended the ceremony to show their support for their fellow nursing students. Senior nursing major Leah Garrison emphasized that if one is truly called to the profession of nursing, the will to help others in need is encouragement during the long nights of studying material and the early mornings of application of material in the hospitals.

Garrison shared her personal advice for those beginning the life-changing journey: “The road to graduation will be tough, but don’t give up. The end result will be so rewarding because of the people we help and the lives that are changed physically and mentally.”


Bailey is a senior English major and a freelance writer for the college.

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