Egan School's Clinical Initiation Ceremony Kicks Off Healthcare Careers

Egan School's Clinical Initiation Ceremony Kicks Off Healthcare Careers

A group of four Fairfield University nursing students standing next to each other.

Hundreds of family members and friends gathered to witness the prestigious ceremony and support Egan's Class of 2025 nursing students.

Class of 2025 students in the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies officially marked their entry into clinical practice at the Clinical Initiation Ceremony, formerly called 'the White Coat Ceremony.'

The ceremony serves as both the starting point of the nurses' clinical practice and as a commemoration of the values they will carry with them as they set out into professional healthcare settings. 

Dean Meredith Wallace Kazer, PhD, APRN, FAAN offered words of inspiration to the Egan school students as they marked this milestone in their training. “You see," she said, "this is the work of nurses every day. You will do it from 7-3, 7-7, 3-11. Then you will go to sleep and do it all over again the next day. It is good work, but it is hard work. It is work that requires constant refueling, something we are growing to appreciate in our profession. As compassionate care leaders, I implore you to show compassionate care to yourselves, your dreams, your passions, and your health. Today, you become a vessel for healing.” 

Guest speaker Teresa Fuller, Chief nursing officer at St. Vincent’s Medical Care Center of Hartford Healthcare, noted the impact nurses can have on patients through the power of storytelling: “As nurses, we are in an ideal position to use the power of storytelling to help our patients be brave and to care for themselves and take back their power over their own bodies, minds and spirits. Imagine your impact of creating a safe place for a patient to share something difficult. Imagine your impact of being in the moment, being silent, and allowing a patient to determine what is best for them to heal. Stories allow for those spaces in time when the real true healing can happen.”

In her keynote address, Fuller also emphasized how novice nurses can confidently forge ahead into their first clinical experience this Spring. “Perhaps, we have ways of 'knowing' that go beyond the acquisition of knowledge,” she said. “Perhaps those deeper ways of knowing help us to help others. Nurses have an innate understanding that to know what’s best for their patients is to help the patient to figure it out for themselves. By keeping their minds open, by being present and listening to their patients, nurses can assist their patients in the healing process. By taking that leap, by trusting in your deeper knowing and by sharing your stories with each other, you can learn and grow together as nurses.”

New to this ceremony is the presentation of the Egan lamp pin. The symbolism of the lamp is tied to nurse Florence Nightingale who gained the nickname of  "The Lady With the Lamp" after using a lamp to guide her path at night to care for soldiers during the Crimean War. The lamp represents goodwill, reliability, and compassion, while reminding students of their commitment to providing compassionate and high-quality care. 

By all accounts, the ceremony was both joyous and moving. Students took an oath to live up to the high ideals of the Egan School and the nursing profession, pledged to uphold their commitment to honesty, integrity, and ethical practice, and to protect the welfare of their patients.

To learn more about the Egan School, visit

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