School of Nursing Holds First-Ever Oath Ceremony for Incoming Students


School of Nursing Dean Annette Wysocki addresses the first Oath Ceremony for incoming students.


The Stony Brook University School of Nursing held its first-ever White Coat/Oath Ceremony for nursing students entering its undergraduate programs on October 29 at Stony Brook Medicine. A total of 132 students participated in the ceremony that carried the theme, “Keep Healthcare Human.”

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. 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.

“This marks a milestone in the career path of our students who choose to become professional nurses,” said School of Nursing Dean Annette Wysocki. “It signifies their commitment to maintaining an ethical human centered approach as they begin to practice nursing in their clinical rotations. They are called to care for individuals, families and communities using the most advanced basic scientific knowledge in combination with social sciences to address the biopsychosocial needs of people trusted to their care.” 

The American Nursing Association predicts more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than another 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.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has driven many older nurses to retire, which, along with other factors, has left a gap in the workforce at hospitals in New York State and across the country,” Wysocki said. “We are thrilled to bring so many new students into our profession where so much opportunity awaits.”

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.

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

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