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White Coat Ceremony Salutes Mississippi College Nursing Students

Mississippi College nursing students took part in a White Coat ceremony followed by plenty of pictures at Anderson Hall on January 30.

Loud cheers erupted as family members and friends showed their support for dozens of nursing students at Mississippi College.

The Blessing of Hands and recitation of the School of Nursing Creed was part of the White Coat celebration on the Clinton campus.

MC School of Nursing Dean Kimberly Sharp and other leaders on January 30 welcomed the latest group of students to embark upon clinical rotations around the state.

“The white coat represents their chosen professional obligations and responsibilities,” Sharp said.

Reading the words of the school creed, she said, “focuses upon the MC program elements of Christian caring and how that links to professional responsibility.”

Students promise to “uphold the standards of professional nursing practice with pride and diligence; and to work with others in mutual cooperation for the improvement of healthcare services.”

Each student paused for a few moments to receive the Blessing of the Hands administered by David Champagne, a Christian Studies professor at Mississippi College. The ceremony is “for each one who uses their skills and knowledge as an ambassador of God’s love and grace,” Sharp added.

The 55 students taking part in the event Tuesday evening speaks to solid enrollment growth for the School of Nursing.

There are presently about 470 undergraduates in the School of Nursing. The number includes nearly 120 online students working towards their BSN completion.

“We hope to soon add graduate routes to our offerings so that our students can continue on into leadership areas in nursing,” Sharp said. “The Lord is blessing the School of Nursing and growth stretches us with pressures on facilities and other requirements.”

The USA job scene looks exceedingly bright for the students taking classes at Cockroft Hall, headquarters of the School of Nursing. MC graduated its first class of nursing students in 1973.

America will continue to see a shortage of registered nurses that will become more critical as Baby Boomers retire and the need for healthcare expands. “Nursing schools across the country are struggling to expand capacity to meet the rising demand for care,” Sharp said.

The RN workforce across the nation is expected to grow from 2.7 million in 2014 to 3.2 million in 2024. That’s an increase of 439,300 or 16 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Factor in replacement nurses, and the number of job openings rises to a little over one million by 2024.

“The predictions are the shortage of nurses will be worse in the South and the Western parts of the USA,” Sharp said.

Mississippi College’s graduate nursing proposal becomes more urgent than ever, she said.

The nursing program at the Christian-university appeals to students like freshman Malik James, 19, of Tupelo. Initially, Malik was going to be a pre-med major, but found nursing to be a better fit. It’s in a state, he noted, with vast needs in healthcare.