Return to Menu Symbol of a Profession: One Hundred Years of Nurses' Caps

Cap - Cornwall General Hospital School of Nursing - 1999.267.29 - CD2001-68-057

Cap - General Hospital of Nursing, St. John's, Newfoundland - 1999.267.7 - CD2001-68-012

Cap - Prince County Hospital School of Nursing, Summerside, Prince Edward Island - 1999.267.46 - CD2001-60-008

Cap - Royal Inland Hospital School of Nursing, Kamloops, British Columbia - 1999.267.13 - CD2001-68-024

Evolution of the Nurse's Cap

Nursing Sisters' Veils

Some nurses' caps resembled, in modified form, the nun's coif, to signify the respected tradition of Roman Catholic nursing and service to humanity. The coif was certainly the choice for military nurses who served in both world wars in the twentieth century. In France, nursing orders often served in military as well as civilian hospitals, a custom that gave rise, in later years, to the practice of calling all nurses who served in the military, "nursing sisters". Many Canadian nursing sisters wore a large white starched cloth, folded over their heads like a nun's coif. The classic nurse's hospital cap with turned back winged brim that most people recognize is a very modified form of the nun's coif (1999.267.29; 1999.267.7; 1999.267.46; 1999.267.13).

Harriet (Hallie) J. T. Sloan
Matron-in-Chief, Canadian Forces Medical Services, 1964-1968

Photograph courtesy of
Lieutenant-Colonel Harriet J. T. Sloan
She is wearing her
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Sister's Veil, Second World War
Canadian War Museum, 20010001-004

Lieutenant-Colonel Harriet J. T. Sloan


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