BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — Bluefield State University welcomed its first nursing students to a White Coat Ceremony.

Normally, this type of ceremony is for doctors in medical school, but Director of Nursing Sandra Wynn said it can be for all in the healthcare profession.

“It is a ceremony to bring the nursing students into the fold of healthcare, and to realize the professionalism, and to make a pledge to do the best they can in the nursing program,” Wynn said.

This year, thanks to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s Nursing Workforce Expansion Program, 81 students participated in the white coat ceremony and signed a pledge book. 

One student, Ashley Cline, said her mother inspired her to follow in her nursing footsteps.

“It’s always been my dream because my mom was an RN, she’s in the ER, and she just loves her job, and I’m excited to help people,” Cline said.

Wynn said she is part of the nursing force born in the Baby Boomers era. That is why she said she is glad to see all of these young faces, despite going through the hardships of the pandemic.

“I’m happy to look at my demographics of my new class,” Wynn said. “Over 60 percent of them are between 17-20 years old. Which is exciting to know that during the pandemic when these kids were graduating high school, they could’ve looked other places, but they have decided to come into nursing.”