I posted this under pinning ceremonies also, but thought, since it was a tradition that some might like to read this.
I found this at a website (http://www.civilization.ca/hist/infirm/inban01e.html
) while I was "surfing"...hope this answers some of your questions about stripes on caps
Many, but not all, nurses' caps had coloured bands which indicated level of training. At the Hamilton and District Regional School of Nursing, for example, first year students wore white bands (1999.267.35), second year students, pink bands (1999.267.37), and graduates, black bands (1999.267.36). Black invariably indicated the graduate nurse, while other colours were used to indicate the first and second year of training. Some say that the black band was introduced as a memorial to Florence Nightingale. The use of bands may also have had its origin in the bands or stripes on military uniforms, and certainly the graduate black had a military look. But interestingly, undergraduate colours such as pink, turquoise or yellow were more traditionally feminine.
There are several reasons why nurses' caps, along with the rest of the uniform, began to disappear in the 1970s. As nursing became more professionalized, nurses wanted to identify more with doctors and other professionals who wore no uniform. At the same time, hospitals started employing ward aides and nursing assistants, who were also outfitted with caps, and subsequently the authority of the graduate nurse's cap was eroded.