More than 40 undergraduate Nursing students received a medical White Coat emblazoned with the St. Francis College logo to show their dedication to the health and well-being of their future patients at St. Francis College’s first White Coat Ceremony on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. (Watch the White Coat Ceremony)w

May 12 is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale, credited with elevating Nursing to a respected and professional field of Health Care.

The College places a heavy focus on technology in its four year undergraduate Nursing program as well as its two-year RN to BS program. Each student received an iPad to be used for textbooks and to link with the College’s newly renovated Nursing Lab. The lab features a collection of robot simulators that mimic thousands of symptoms for students to diagnose. All the work is captured on video, giving instructors the opportunity to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

Nursing students at the first White Coat Ceremony.

Nursing students at the first White Coat Ceremony.

The Keynote Address at the Ceremony was delivered by Pamela D. Straker, the Program Coordinator for the Brooklyn Health Disparities Center at Downstate Medical Center. Straker talked about some of the programs at the Center including the training of hairdressers and barbers in HIV and AIDS prevention to reach populations that don’t normally access local health care providers. The Disparities Center also encourages people from under-represented populations to seek careers in the sciences.

White Coat ceremonies first became popular more than 20 years ago and were exclusively for students in medical school. However, as Dr. Burdowski explained, “Nurses today share the same ideals as every other health care professional, so by now including you in this ceremony we hope to establish a stronger sense of community among yourself and other caring health care providers.”