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Celebrating the Future of Nursing


STONY BROOK, NY, November 8, 2021 – The Stony Brook University School of Nursing held its first “Oath Ceremony” for students entering its undergraduate programs. The purpose of the ceremony – devised similarly to Medicine’s white coat ceremony – is to welcome students into the profession and highlight the impact that nursing brings to society and patients worldwide. A total of 132 students participated in the ceremony that carried the theme “Keep Healthcare Human.”

Held on October 29 at Stony Brook Medicine, the event was made possible with a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support the Gold-AACN White Coat/Oath Ceremony for Nursing.

The American Nursing Association predicts more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 11 million additional nurses are needed in the next few years to avoid a further nursing shortage – an issue that has surfaced even more during the 2020-21 Covid-19 pandemic. The Bureau also projects with the aging population and specialized medicine nursing positions will grow at a faster rate (approximately 15 percent) than all other occupations from 2016 to 2026.

Assembled at the ceremony are all of the participating students and Nursing faculty (front row).

“This ceremony marks a milestone in the career path of our students who choose to become professional nurses in the face of a pandemic,” says Annette Wysocki, PhD, Dean of the School of Nursing. “All nurses are called to care for individuals, families and communities using the most advanced scientific knowledge with an ethical human-centered approach, in combination with knowledge of the social sciences to address the biopsychosocial needs of people entrusted to their care.”

Dean Wysocki also points out that the need for nurses will only grow, as the pandemic has driven many older nurses to retire, leaving a gap in the workforce in New York State and nationwide.

Each of the students at the ceremony, upon having their name called,  received a pouch with a nursing pin, nursing code of ethics bookmark and a card about keeping humanism in nursing.

Baccalaureate student Ben Lee receives his pin and packet from faculty member Dr. Virginia Coletti during the School of Nursing’s first Oath Ceremony.

Long-time Stony Brook nurse practitioner and educator Barbara Mills, DNP, was the keynote speaker. Mills received her doctorate in Nursing at Stony Brook in 2009 and has been a key member transforming the hospital’s Rapid Response Team. Her message emphasized keeping healthcare human and treating every patient with dignity, respect, and with cultural sensitivity.

Many of the new students have volunteered during the pandemic for the vaccine rollout and related work at Stony Brook Medicine. Because Stony Brook is an upper division nursing school, students enter the undergraduate program after their sophomore year in college. These students, encompassing two academic years, and those students entering the accelerated 12-month nursing program participated in the ceremony.

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