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Inaugural white coat ceremony signifies departure of 11 DNP candidates to clinical rotations

The graduate nursing program at the College of Saint Benedict, which launched in the fall of 2021, reached an important milestone recently. Eleven candidates for Doctor of Nursing Practice received ceremonial white lab coats indicating they will be starting their clinical rotations as a family nurse practitioner or leadership student.

The inaugural ceremony was held April 23 at the Sacred Heart Chapel in St. Joseph and included a prayer and blessing by Sister Sharon Nohnor, OSB, representing Saint Benedict’s Monastery.

“The purpose of the ceremony is to celebrate the DNP students as they begin the journey into their advanced professional role,” said Dr. Jennifer Peterson, chair of the graduate nursing program. “The white coat is a reminder of the humanistic, compassionate, collaborative and evidence-based patient care they will provide in the future. The coat will remind them to always listen with the ear of their heart and seek ways to serve when able.”

The 11 graduate students also took their nursing oath and the family nurse practitioner students will serve at dozens of sites throughout Central Minnesota, beginning May 15 through the first DNP graduation late in the summer of 2024. Working with existing nurse practitioners and other health care professionals, they will polish the skills needed to be an effective primary care provider, nurse leader, faculty member or health care influencer.

The Class of 2024 includes:

  • Karina Barabash of Shoreview
  • Megan Deans of East Bethel
  • Anna Forberg of St. Joseph
  • Mary Geisenhof of St. Cloud
  • Samantha Hamm of Woodbury
  • Nelli Hodorff of St. Paul
  • Amber Juetten of Foley
  • Brooklyn Loxtercamp of Minneapolis
  • Taylor Schreiner of Kimball
  • Molly Sexe of Hugo
  • Kendra Sukke of Fargo, North Dakota

Eight of the 11 students received their undergraduate degrees at CSB.

Also speaking at the event was Denise Christie, APRN, CRNA, a CSB nursing alum and current DNP student on a post-master’s leadership track. Bobbie Bertram, APRN, CNP, and the APP practice director at CentraCare was the guest speaker.

Christie, a 2000 CSB graduate, began her nursing career at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and became a certified registered nurse anesthetist in 2006. Since then she has worked at St. Cloud Hospital and in various leadership roles among her peers and as a clinical coordinator for student registered nurse anesthetists. Christie, who previously received her white coat representing that she has neared completion of her precepted clinical leadership experiences, is expected to finish her degree in August and become the first DNP graduate at CSB.

Bertram, who has been with CentraCare since 2003, worked at a rural primary care clinic in Melrose before transitioning in 2012 to trauma service – where she continues her career as a nurse practitioner. She earned an MBA with concentrations in healthcare leadership and change management in 2016 and became director of CentraCare’s APP practice in 2019, supervising clinical and administrative activities across a network of 52 patient care facilities. She earned a DNP with a leadership concentration in 2022 and has been an advocate for the graduate nursing program at Saint Ben’s.

Poignantly, as the students donned their coats, they found letters in one of the pockets from working nurse practitioners and faculty members who paid for that portion of the ceremony.

“There was a lot of excitement for the students because this is the coming to fruition of a lot of sacrifice, by them with their jobs and by their families with all the time they’ve put into this education,” Peterson said. “We’re excited for the program to grow with more classes, probably with more non-alumni joining as well, but there’s only one group that will ever be first and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Nurse's OathThe members of the College of Saint Benedict DNP Class of 2024 takes the Nursing Oath on April 23 at the Sacred Heart Chapel.

White coat presented

Mary Geisenhof, a graduate nursing student from St. Cloud, dons her white coat during a ceremony honoring the first class of candidates for Doctor of Nursing Practice at the College of Saint Benedict. Eleven students, eight of whom received their undergraduate degree at Saint Ben’s, received white lab coats signifying their ascendence to clinical rotations.

Molly Sexe gets her white coat

Molly Sexe of Hugo, Minnesota, received her ceremonial white lab coat during an April 23 event celebrating the 11 graduate students from CSB who are beginning their clinical rotations on May 15. Sexe received her undergraduate degree at Saint Ben’s and expects to graduate with a Doctor of Nursing Practice in the summer of 2024.