Health & Science

FAU's College of Nursing Celebrates First-Ever White Coat Ceremony

Nearly 100 freshmen Florida Atlantic University nursing students recently took part in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing's first-ever white coat ceremony at the Boca Raton campus. FAU was one of only four universities in Florida, and 100 nationwide, to receive funding for this ceremony through a joint initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

These pilot white coat ceremonies were designed "to instill a commitment to providing compassionate care among future health professionals" and "to promote humanistic, patient-centered care among incoming nursing students," according to the APGF, themes that closely align with the College of Nursing's caring-centered approach to the nursing profession.

"The white coat ceremony was a very meaningful event that marked special milestones for our University, College and students," said Marlaine Smith, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing. "We are grateful to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for including us in this movement in modern nursing education."

In addition to being the first nursing white coat ceremony of its kind at FAU, the College also welcomed its first class of freshmen nursing students this fall as part of the College's new freshman-direct admission program, which allows outstanding freshmen to begin their nursing studies immediately, while in their first semester at FAU.


Enhancing Patient Safety Using an Interprofessional Approach

In its 1999 report, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System," the Institute of Medicine defines medical errors as "the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong  plan to achieve an aim." And, according to The Joint Commission, more than 80 percent of medical errors can be attributed to miscommunication.To help increase clear and efficient communication among members of the healthcare team, and, ultimately, patient safety, faculty in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing are educating the next generation of nurses with an emphasis on interprofessional communication. One way this is being accomplished is through the TeamSTEPPS® (Team Strategies to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) program, which cross-trains students from the Colleges of Nursing and Medicine.

The program was developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Department of Defense as an evidence-based curriculum for interprofessional collaborative practice promoting patient safety. Nursing and medical students sharpen their communication skills through role-playing scenarios, allowing faculty and students to reflect on the types of communication techniques that are most effective.Nursing Professors Terry Eggenberger and Kathryn Keller became Master Trainers for TeamSTEPPS® in 2009. TeamSTEPPS® was adopted as part of the nursing and medical school curricula, with nearly 700 students and more than 50 faculty members participating over the past five years.

"By taking an interprofessional approach to training through programs including TeamSTEPPS®, we are building the crucial communication skills necessary to prevent errors that are costly - financially, emotionally and medically," said Dr. Eggenberger.In addition to the TeamSTEPPS® program, FAU students in nursing, medicine and social work take joint interprofessional classes focused on health policy and the roles of various healthcare disciplines. Over the course of a year, students work together with residents of a senior living community to practice the team-based competencies they learn.

Building on their earlier work, Eggenberger and Keller are collaborating with the FAU College of Medicine's new residency program to develop an interprofessional education and practice model that will extend these efforts into local hospitals, beginning with Boca Raton Regional Hospital.


 Last Modified 1/16/14