In honor of my profession and our National day (well, la dee da!!) I am re-posting some pictures and commentary from a Medscape e-mail I got this morning.
Nurses fastening and admiring their caps, 1950.
"From the day a girl contemplates entering training, she looks forward to the day when she has successfully passed the long, hard trials and tribulations of a probationer and has earned the privilege of having the symbol of dignity placed upon her head. That moment is the acme of her training school career." (Courtesy of University of Virginia School of Nursing Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry)
Dorothy Woodhouse Dalenberg, Hackensack Hospital School of Nursing, 1968.
Dorothy remembers that "at our freshman capping ceremony, we received the cap with one thin blue felt stripe. Each year another thin blue stripe was added. We received a single, thicker black stripe when we graduated. My daughter, Kimberly, is also an RN and now has possession of my cap." (Courtesy of Dorothy Woodhouse Dalenberg)
Mary Koslap-Petraco, Bellevue School of Nursing, New York City, 1969.
Mary, who was in the last diploma class to graduate from Bellevue, shares the history of the "Bellevue Fluff."
"Bellevue was the first nursing program in the United States to follow the Nightingale model. In 1872, Florence Nightingale sent a letter outlining her paradigm for nursing education. The school opened on May 1, 1873. For the first several years there was no standardized uniform or cap. Euphemia Van Rensselaer took it upon herself to design a blue and white striped uniform and cap. As the years passed the cap became smaller but was the same design as the original. The organdy Bellevue "cupcake" came to symbolize the highest standards for the registered professional nurse and has been proudly worn by thousands of graduates." (Courtesy of Mary Koslap-Petraco)
I am very nostalgic about the nursing cap and white uniform. My nursing class- Class of 1990, was the last class at my school to graduate with a white cap and white dress. I still have my cap and school pin and white dress.
I don't work out on the floor any more and don't wear a uniform. Although uniforms are not what they were. We all were scrubs now. Yes, very comfortable and practical, but I do think that they take away the professional competent image of the nurse in her white dress and starched cap.
I never wore my cap after graduation, I did wear dresses and white hose and white "duty shoes". Now that has all gone away.
Alas, perhaps I was born into the wrong generation.