Eight nursing students became Averett University’s first “white coaters”

Southside Virginia News

DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Eight nursing students in the Master of Science program at Averett University took part in a white coat ceremony in Danville on Friday, symbolizing the next step in their training to become nurse practitioners.

“I am over the moon excited,” said Rebecca Squier, one of the eight training to become a nurse practitioner. “I always wanted to be a doctor growing up. I figured out pretty quick that I have the heart of a nurse, so a nurse practitioner gives me the opportunity to do both. I get to have the heart of a nurse. I have a nursing background. Everything I do is in nursing, but then I still get to be a provider.”

“Today is a very exciting day here at Averett because we are getting to do our first inaugural white coat ceremony for our nurse practitioner students,” said Dr. Ryan Mallo, a professor with the Averett School of Nursing.

“Meaning that today our honorees are indelibly etched in Averett history as our inaugural M.S.N. white coaters,” said Averett University President Dr. Tiffany Franks. “How do you like that? I’m going to think of you as the inaugural white coaters.”

Mallo explains this was the first white coat ceremony at Averett because this program is only a few years old.

The first ceremony would have been held last year, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So now we’re getting our white coats which is like a right of passage in the clinical,” Squier said. “It’s like a symbol for letting us go on to be a provider.”

“They’ll be moving into clinics where they will be learning the clinical portion of their education,” Mallo said. “They’ll be seeing patients. They’ll be assessing them, diagnosing them, delivering treatment plans, writing prescriptions for them, ordering tests, and things like that.”

“So that we can get some experience and practice in clinical so that we can go on and take that role before we actually are a nurse practitioner,” Squier said.

“I want to wish all my fellow students well. I know that everybody is going to do great in whatever they do. They’re going to excel. So I want to wish them well and good luck, and I’m excited to take on this journey with them.”

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