UMass Amherst Nursing Students to Be Honored with Nightingale Ceremony

College of Nursing is only school in Massachusetts selected for honor
College of Nursing

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing is being honored with a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to host its first annual Nightingale Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 8 at noon in Skinner Hall.

Nursing juniors will participate in the ceremony, designed to underscore the importance of humanistic patient care, before beginning the clinical portion of their studies. Students will recite an oath and receive a pin serving as a visual reminder of their commitment to providing high quality healthcare. Nursing students will also sign a book, in honor of their oath, which will remain in the college to be signed by students for years to come as part of future Nightingale ceremonies.

“We are thrilled to be chosen by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for this opportunity to remind our students of the importance of their chosen profession—caring for the most vulnerable,” says assistant dean for undergraduate education Maeve Howett. “Reflecting upon their liberal arts education and pausing to commit themselves to a humanistic practice is something that our entire community, faculty and students alike, is grateful for. This ceremony promises to be a moving reminder that when we put on our nursing uniforms we signal to our patients that they can trust that the care they receive will be delivered expertly and thoughtfully to the whole person, family, and community we are serving.”

The Gold Foundation has been sponsoring White Coat Ceremonies for medical students to highlight humanism at the core of healthcare for more than 20 years, but partnered with the AACN in 2013 to begin hosting ceremonies for nurses. Out of the 50 nursing schools and colleges chosen to receive funding to host these events, UMass Amherst is the only one selected in Massachusetts.

“The Gold Foundation recognized in our application that being a Minuteman Nurse from UMass Amherst represents an extraordinary preparation in liberal arts and the humanities as well as excellent preparation in the STEM fields. Our nursing students stand out among others because of our college’s commitment to social justice, innovation, and leadership. Because we are located in rural western Massachusetts, our students get exceptional training in vulnerable populations throughout the Commonwealth in community clinics, home health, rehabilitative nursing, palliative and hospice, acute care, public health, prisons and schools. Graduates from our program leave well prepared to serve the profession and the public as proud UMass nurses,” adds Howett.

About UMass Amherst College of Nursing

As a leader in nursing education for over 60 years, the College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst prepares students to enter the nursing profession at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels while also developing vital nurse educators and researchers to inform and educate future generations of nursing students. For more information on the college, visit

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) is an international nonprofit organization devoted to keeping healthcare human through compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care. Founded in 1988, with strong roots in medical education, the Gold Foundation has expanded to embrace today's challenges and the whole healthcare team – nurses, physician assistants, hospital staff, medical executives, caregivers – with patients at the center. We infuse healthcare with humanism through rituals and recognition, such as the White Coat Ceremony and the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and grants and programs designed to increase connection. The APGF Research Institute supports studies that investigate and advocate for humanistic change. Learn more at

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 810 schools of nursing with baccalaureate and/or graduate degrees nationwide. AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve healthcare, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. More information at