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

Capping the Nurse

This cap is reverently placed upon your brow - a symbol of your entrance into the sacred walls of the hospital to accept the training and moulding of your mind to best fit you for the profession you have chosen - that of committing yourself and your best knowledge to the care of the sick and injured.

This cap is a symbol of trust, purity and honour. Keep it white as God's new snow, for within its folds are treasures dearly bought by those who walked the halls of pain throughout the years until now. You will possess these treasures just as largely as you give yourself to the study and care of the sick. You will enjoy the beauty of this service as largely as you enter into it in spirit, working always to attain to the best, keeping firm to duty and being kind. You stand today at the gateway to a sacred calling, lifting the latch as it were to all the privileges of knowledge and training at hand to use with your best skill and womanhood to fit you for the services and emergencies of the nursing profession. The goal for which you yearn will be reached by your days being replete in worthy application, and laurels won in going the second mile with tact, grace, dignity, understanding and kindness ever guiding you. High purpose and courage, a beacon to high desires - abstinence from any habit or act which would not carry the seal of this high calling to its best heights. The road is steep and was ever hardly won - never by selfishness, carelessness, pleasures, and self-indulgence. Habit and imitation are the source of all working and apprenticeship, of all practice and learning in this world. It was Byron who said, "My very chains and I grew friends, so much a long communion tends to make us what we are; even I regained my freedom with a sigh." It is the magnificent harness of routine that enables us to mould ourselves into the manifold duties and requirements, mounting obstacles, gaining poise and stability with a sublime dignity and efficiency which is a priceless attainment. It is well when we bend to and cheerfully accept the lessons we receive in this path of obedience and duty. Never ever fear to bring the sublimest motive to the smallest trouble. In so doing you will find reward, satisfaction and contentment at every turning of the road.

Margaret Rhynas
Memorial Hospital, St. Thomas, Ontario, 1945
Courtesy of Phyllis Auckland


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