KOKOMO, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo’s School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions presented the white coats that signify transitioning to advanced practice health care to 13 students in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program Wednesday (September 15) in Kresge Auditorium.
Mary Bourke, associate dean of graduate programs, said putting on the white coat is a non-verbal form of communication used to express the reverence of the students’ professional journey. The white color is a symbol for professionalism, caring, and trust, which providers must earn from their patients.
“It’s a sacred trust between a patient and their primary care provider,” she said. “Never lose sight of why you started this amazing voyage. The challenges may be significant as each of you navigate your journey during a historical event never seen in our lifetimes-the Covid-19 pandemic. We understand your challenges and look on with pride and amazement at your resilience and determination.”
Dea Kent, interim family nurse practitioner track director, said the white coat also demonstrates how the students’ perception of their role as a health care provider is changing.
“As a nurse, you have brought much to the profession,” she said. “You know how to build relationships, how to perceive when someone is hurting, angry, or depressed. Now you will expand on that foundation. You will continue to be the cheerleader, the coach, the motivator, the teacher. And you will continue to find ways to improve lives, saves lives, and help people find a pathway to their best and healthiest living.”
Dean Susan Hendricks congratulated the class on completing two of the seven semesters in the FNP program, to earn their white coats before beginning the clinical portion of their education. She noted that they are all experienced nurses, currently working in intensive care units, emergency departments, and other healthcare settings, and are recognized for their expertise.
“This evening, we all stand behind these nurses with gratitude for their service during the past few years, which have truly been difficult. We have an added measure of respect for them, as they are choosing to take on another role as an advanced practice nurse during these tumultuous times.”
FNPs are registered nurses who have completed specialized advanced graduate education, passed national board examinations, and are licensed to manage a broad range of health problems. They do physical exams, order and interpret results from blood tests and X-rays, diagnose and treat illnesses, and write prescriptions. They use a patient and family-centered approach to health care, and emphasize health promotion, disease prevention, patient education, symptom control, and care coordination.
IU Kokomo’s FNP program began in January 2017, funded by a grant from Community Howard Regional Health. A unique feature of the program is that it provides clinical practicum placements with area health care systems and medical practitioners for its students to complete their required 600 hours, rather than requiring them to find their own.
Members of the class, listed by hometown, include:
Fishers: Amos Kangau
Indianapolis: Dawn Ellington
Kokomo: Ashley Bryant, James Cesare, Lora Dillman, Kelly Foreit, Cassie McKillip, Pia Strong