White coat and pinning ceremony for Elon nursing students urges them to ‘make things happen’

Forty-seven ABSN and BSN Elon students received their white coats and 14 graduating ABSN students were pinned during a joint White Coat and Pinning Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 1.

Elon University Department of Nursing White Coat and Pinning Ceremony, December 1, 2023, in Whitley Auditorium.

Members of the Elon University Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) Class of 2025 received their white coats and students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Classes of 2023 and 2024 had the white coats they’ve already received pinned on Friday, Dec. 1, in a joint ceremony hosted by the Department of Nursing.

Gathered in Whitley Auditorium, an audience of family members and loved ones watched on as a new crop of health care professionals celebrated milestones in their education. The ABSN Class of 2023 is the second cohort of graduating ABSN students to be pinned at Elon. The class will graduate during the School of Health Sciences graduate commencement on Friday, Dec. 8, after the 16-month program that includes more than 500 clinical hours and is designed for those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in any field.

The ABSN Class of 2024 is the third cohort to receive their white coats. The BSN Class of 2025 is the inaugural cohort of traditional nursing students at Elon to don white coats.

“Life is a dynamic journey,” said Stacey Thomas, interim department chair of the Department of Nursing, during the ceremony. “Our students have met change head-on and have embraced the growth that has occurred as they have stepped outside of their comfort zones.”

North Carolina State Senator Gale Adcock, MSN, FNP, delivers the keynote address at the Elon University Department of Nursing White Coat and Pinning Ceremony, December 1, 2023, in Whitley Auditorium.

N.C. State Senator Gale Adcock delivered the keynote address during the joint white coat and pinning ceremony. Adcock is serving her first term in the North Carolina Senate after eight years in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Along with a life in politics, Adcock is a a board-certified family nurse practitioner with more than three decades of experience.

In her 16th year of elected office, Adcock believes that nurses’ skills in patient advocacy are a “roadmap for influencing policy at every level of government.” Adcock told the Department of Nursing students their transformation doesn’t stop with the presenting of white coats or pinning or even graduation.

Their transformation will depend on what kind of nurse they decide to be — nurses that make things happen, nurses that watch things happen and nurses that say “What happened?”

“We’re not going to waste time talking about that last group because none of you would have invested considerable time, energy and money … if you plan to be so disengaged,” Adcock said. Adcock focused her address on the kind of nurses that make things happen.

Elon University Department of Nursing White Coat and Pinning Ceremony, December 1, 2023, in Whitley Auditorium.

Adcock told Elon nursing students that to become nurses who makes things happen they will have to move past the idea of having to be a finished product. What’s more important is having purpose, not perfection. As an exercise for Elon students to become more purposeful, Adcock asked the students to think about how they see themselves, how they talk to themselves and how they surround themselves. Developing a tolerance for imperfection and discomfort is also a key attribute of nurses who make things happen, she said.

“Those moments of panic and uncertainty when you realize that there isn’t a net are a sure sign that you are in the sweet spot to make things happen,” Adcock said. “I leave you with this invitation — transform. See yourself as a nurse without limits. Tell yourself you’re capable. Surround yourself with affirming people. And lean into the sensation of your pulse racing and your palms sweating. Get out there and transform the world by continuing to transform yourself.”

Camille Weaver ’23, the student in her class with the highest GPA, introduced Adcock for the keynote address. Olivia Landolfo ’25, the BSN student with the highest GPA, led a reading of the Nursing Oath. University Chaplain Rev. Kirstin Boswell delivered the invocation to start the ceremony and Dean of the School of Health Sciences Maha Lund delivered the welcome.

Elon University Department of Nursing White Coat and Pinning Ceremony, December 1, 2023, in Whitley Auditorium.

School of Health Sciences faculty Sarah Olejar, Cyra Kussman and Jeanmarie Koonts presented the BSN Class of 2025 and ABSN Class of 2024 with their white coats. Thomas and faculty member Elizabeth Van Horn presented members of the ABSN Class of 2023 with their pins.

Along with the ABSN program, Elon’s Department of Nursing is home to a traditional, four-year undergraduate program. The university’s nursing programs prepare nurses who are committed to local and global health equity and demonstrate the ability to think broadly, critically and creatively to optimize client-centered care.

ABSN Class of 2023

  • Hyland Alfonso
  • Grace Auth
  • Jasmine Brumsey
  • Danielle Cantrell
  • Michaela Farina
  • Ruth George
  • Christian Lindsay
  • Taylor Mellow
  • Katelyn Perez
  • Joely Summey
  • Ravyn Turner
  • Samantha Vaz
  • Camille Weaver
  • Kendall Webb

ABSN Class of 2024

  • Skylar Allison
  • Sarah Altmann
  • Kiara Batts
  • Timothy “Chandler” Brayboy
  • Catherine Cambon
  • Ashlee Dais
  • Lauren “Maggie” Davenport
  • Lauren Dykstra
  • Alexa Fraser
  • Walker Gagnon
  • Makayla Harris
  • Kaley Kennedy
  • Bailey McNamara
  • Olivia Piernik
  • Colette Romp
  • Kimberly “Vale” Serge
  • Kassie Simmons
  • Ashley Thatcher
  • Jennifer Tinoco Ortiz

BSN Class of 2025

  • Rachel Albertazzi
  • Jordan Almeida
  • Anna Burfeind
  • Taylor Capello
  • Sam Cohen
  • Madison Costa
  • Sruthi Edwards
  • Kelsey Eshleman
  • Murphy Fournier
  • Briana Friedman
  • Sophia Gambacorta
  • Sammy Haynie
  • Aaliyah Jackson
  • Amanda Jacobson
  • Olivia Landolfo
  • Eric Mulford
  • Erin Poole
  • Julia Quinn
  • Bella Saliba
  • Kathryn Schmidt
  • Leah Sheehan
  • Belle Sousa
  • Amelia Tally
  • Sophia Tiago
  • Antonella Tommasi
  • Sydney Tort
  • Lani Watson
  • Maddie Xerras
  • Lucy Zamorski