Rounds With Leadership: Celebrating the Power of Compassionate Care

Published June 26, 2019

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.

June 26, 2019 - Celebrating the Power of Compassionate Care

On June 13, we had the distinct honor of representing academic nursing at the 2019 Golden Thread Gala in New York City at the historic Ziegfeld Ballroom. This special event brings together a wide variety of supporters who believe passionately in The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s mission of keeping health care human. Those attending included medical and nursing school leaders and faculty, corporate healthcare leaders, captains of industry, thought leaders in health care, compassionate nurses and physicians, and patients and their families.

Three extraordinary individuals were recognized at the gala with the foundation’s highest honor – the National Humanism in Medicine Medal:

  • Elaine Adler, Entrepreneur, Community Activist, and Internationally Recognized Patient Advocate
  • Anna Quindlen, Bestselling Author, Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist, and Social Critic
  • Dr. George E. Thibault, Eminent Professor, Physician, and Distinguished Leader in Medical Education

Given Elaine Adler’s commitment to supporting White Coat Ceremonies at schools of nursing, AACN was asked to give remarks that underscore the need for nurses and all healthcare providers to commit to providing compassionate care. The following remarks were offered:

“As the CEO of AACN, the voice of academic nursing, it is truly my honor to accept this award on behalf of Elaine Adler and for nurses everywhere who share her commitment to infusing humanism into health care.

Since the origin of the profession, nurses have recognized the great impact that a strong concern for human welfare - coupled with a knowledge of science - can have on the care of patients, families, and communities. Elaine and her husband Mike understand this connection and the invaluable contributions that nurses make to health and well-being.

Five years ago, AACN and the Gold Foundation announced a bold new partnership that would introduce White Coat Ceremonies to schools of nursing.  These ceremonies, which had long been a rite of passage for students entering medical school, would now be presented at nursing schools with generous support from the Myron and Elaine Adler Private Foundation.

Elaine and Mike Adler were convinced that the success of humanism in health care, while resting on the shoulders of many - would not be possible without nurses.  The Adlers’ public and personal experiences gave them firsthand knowledge of patient-centered nursing care and why it matters. 

In a press statement released to celebrate this new milestone in nursing, AACN underscored that “Inviting nursing into this initiative sent a clear message that all health professionals have an essential role to play in providing compassionate care.”  We applauded “our colleagues with the Gold Foundation and the Adlers for supporting this visionary effort that promotes excellence in healthcare delivery and interprofessional engagement.”

Since 2014, the Adlers have provided continuous support to nursing schools looking to offer White Coat Ceremonies.  To date, 360 schools of nursing that offer baccalaureate and higher degree programs now host White Coat Ceremonies, which require incoming students to commit to providing compassionate care from the start of their clinical nursing education.

I myself have attended many ceremonies over the years and have witnessed firsthand the impact these events have on the professional formation of future nurses. 

Nursing will be forever grateful to Elaine Adler for her commitment to shaping the future of health care and for elevating the patient care experience. 

In addition to thanking Elaine, I would also like to recognize the other recipients of this year’s National Humanism in Medicine Medal: renowned author Anna Quindlen who has helped to shape the national dialogue about the need for compassionate care, and a great colleague of mine, Dr. George Thibault, whose groundbreaking work to advance interprofessional education and practice is transforming care delivery around the world.

Tonight’s honorees are making a real difference in improving health and health care, for which we should all be grateful.”

AACN is currently accepting applications for the AACN/Gold Foundation initiative to financially support a Compassionate Care Commitment Ceremony (“white coat ceremony”) at an AACN member school of nursing. Online applications are due July 1, 2019. Funding for the 2019-2020 academic year is available for 50 schools that have not yet hosted a ceremony.