No, Caps Are Not Totally Gone - page 15

by DoGoodThenGo

30,382 Views | 176 Comments

Nurse proudly wears the cap that defines her profession If you've visited McKay-Dee Hospital, there's good chance you've seen nurse Linda MacPherson. There are a lot of nurses at the hospital in Ogden, though, so what... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from HazelLPN
    It is so nice to see that there are still many nurses out there who remember how special caps were and challenge some of the silly negative ideas about how caps carry "germs" or equate nurses with servants.
    I think it's great to have some appreciation for our history, but part of that is an accurate understanding of it. Nursing caps are indeed a symbol of subserviency. The Nursing cap is a carry over from the Nun's Wimple. The covering of a part or all of a woman's head was (and still is in many cultures) a symbol of reverence towards men and patriarchal hierarchy, whether it be Nuns and Priests or Nurses and Physicians. This wasn't just among Catholics, if you look at photos of church services from the mid 20th century, you'll notice that all of the women are wearing hats, even in protestant churches, this was how women showed reverence to the preacher and to God. This comes from Corinthians which states that men should worship with their head uncovered, as they are the image of God, while women are the image of men. Covering one's head is how women acknowledge that they are 1 step removed from God, with men in between.
  2. 4
    Quote from MunoRN
    I think it's great to have some appreciation for our history, but part of that is an accurate understanding of it. Nursing caps are indeed a symbol of subserviency. The Nursing cap is a carry over from the Nun's Wimple. The covering of a part or all of a woman's head was (and still is in many cultures) a symbol of reverence towards men and patriarchal hierarchy, whether it be Nuns and Priests or Nurses and Physicians. This wasn't just among Catholics, if you look at photos of church services from the mid 20th century, you'll notice that all of the women are wearing hats, even in protestant churches, this was how women showed reverence to the preacher and to God. This comes from Corinthians which states that men should worship with their head uncovered, as they are the image of God, while women are the image of men. Covering one's head is how women acknowledge that they are 1 step removed from God, with men in between.
    Yes, and no.

    There are two origins of nurse's headgear.

    One as you state came from the female religous orders that historically provided nursing care. The other however was from Florence Nightingale.

    During the Victorian era *all* females wore some sort of head covering in most cultures. Indeed the covering of female's heads aside from religous purposes had been in and out of fashion for ages.

    During the Victorian era various caps were worn indoors to help keep one's hair clean from the dust, soot and god only knows what else was in the air. Considering what an ordeal it was to wash one's hair then (and most women did not cut their hair, so there was allot of it), the longer one could go without having to do that process the better.

    Gradually as fashions changed younger women began going without head coverings indoors, it was only usually elderly women and or those stuck in whatever they felt suited that continued to wear them. Female servants OTHO were a different matter. Maids, nursemaids, nannies, and so forth were kept in caps by their employers. They wouldn't escape this fate until years later when the "servant problem" gave them some leverage in terms of their employment.

    In relation to nursing the "caps" Florence Nightingale and other trained nurses wore served the same purpose as in a domestic setting. They kept one's hair clean and more important kept whatever dirt and or vermin (head lice were still common) from getting on patients.

    Gradually as hygiene improved nurses caps became less about head covering than fashion and an indication of the profession along with often one's rank within (stripes).
    ShariDCST, nursel56, HazelLPN, and 1 other like this.
  3. 0
    Quote from MunoRN
    <snip> This comes from Corinthians which states that men should worship with their head uncovered, as they are the image of God, while women are the image of men. Covering one's head is how women acknowledge that they are 1 step removed from God, with men in between.
    Not quite. Men are "the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man." (I Corinth. 11:7) She's not created as a second hand image of him. "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God." Even though Jesus is God's equal, in the order of things, he submits to God. It doesn't make him unequal or "removed" from God, nor does the woman's submission to man mean she is a lesser creation, more "removed" from God than men. Gal. 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

    Off my soapbox now, LOL
  4. 0
    Quote from RetRN77
    Not quite. Men are "the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man." (I Corinth. 11:7) She's not created as a second hand image of him. "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God." Even though Jesus is God's equal, in the order of things, he submits to God. It doesn't make him unequal or "removed" from God, nor does the woman's submission to man mean she is a lesser creation, more "removed" from God than men. Gal. 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

    Off my soapbox now, LOL
    You may want to re-read your own quote. Men are the image and glory of God while woman is the glory of man. Women are not the image or glory of god, men are. Women are the glory of man (1 removed from God in relation to Man's direct connection.
  5. 0
    Quote from DoGoodThenGo
    Yes, and no.

    There are two origins of nurse's headgear.

    One as you state came from the female religous orders that historically provided nursing care. The other however was from Florence Nightingale.

    During the Victorian era *all* females wore some sort of head covering in most cultures. Indeed the covering of female's heads aside from religous purposes had been in and out of fashion for ages.

    During the Victorian era various caps were worn indoors to help keep one's hair clean from the dust, soot and god only knows what else was in the air. Considering what an ordeal it was to wash one's hair then (and most women did not cut their hair, so there was allot of it), the longer one could go without having to do that process the better.

    Gradually as fashions changed younger women began going without head coverings indoors, it was only usually elderly women and or those stuck in whatever they felt suited that continued to wear them. Female servants OTHO were a different matter. Maids, nursemaids, nannies, and so forth were kept in caps by their employers. They wouldn't escape this fate until years later when the "servant problem" gave them some leverage in terms of their employment.

    In relation to nursing the "caps" Florence Nightingale and other trained nurses wore served the same purpose as in a domestic setting. They kept one's hair clean and more important kept whatever dirt and or vermin (head lice were still common) from getting on patients.

    Gradually as hygiene improved nurses caps became less about head covering than fashion and an indication of the profession along with often one's rank within (stripes).
    Nursing caps certainly do serve multiple purposes, but the fact that they are useful for keeping hair clean does not negate it's other meanings.

    You are correct, Nightingale's cap (which wasn't really a cap) served a different purpose, however it's wasn't Nightingale's cleaning lady style cap that endured, it was the starched, decorative, Wimple style that endured, a cap with clearly more symbolic meaning than practical purpose.
  6. 3
    Quote from MunoRN
    You may want to re-read your own quote. Men are the image and glory of God while woman is the glory of man. Women are not the image or glory of god, men are. Women are the glory of man (1 removed from God in relation to Man's direct connection.
    There is no implication of "removal" - that is something you have inferred, which is contradicted by the verse in Galations. Sorry, I don't want to start a big kerfuffle, so that's my last word on the issue.
    nursel56, HazelLPN, and nightcna2 like this.
  7. 0
    Galatians states that all those who have faith are children of God. This does not contradict Corinthians which describes the difference between a man's and woman's relationship with God (both men and women are still children of God in the Corinthians description).

    Corinthians describes man is being directly connected to God, while women are connected to God through man, this is what "once removed" means.
  8. 5
    Quote from MunoRN
    Nursing caps certainly do serve multiple purposes, but the fact that they are useful for keeping hair clean does not negate it's other meanings.

    You are correct, Nightingale's cap (which wasn't really a cap) served a different purpose, however it's wasn't Nightingale's cleaning lady style cap that endured, it was the starched, decorative, Wimple style that endured, a cap with clearly more symbolic meaning than practical purpose.

    Again sorry but no that is not totally true. It was only mainly UK/Commonwealth, a few European countries and for a while during WWI that followed nursing sister movement and used a veil similar to the head gear of nuns and sisters. Wimples are what cover the head/neck and far as one knows nurses aside from those in religous orders never wore those. Everyone else in North America, UK/Commonwealth, parts of western Europe and so forth wore versions of the "Nightingale cap" or some other cap that sat upon one's head but did not cover it like a veil.



    Some Catholic nursing schools had caps loosely based upon the starched coronets of various orders such as the Sisters of Charity:



    Saint Vincent's schools of Nursing in NYC would be a famous example of this:



    If you want to talk about nurse's head gear being "unsanitary" then those veils would be far more so than caps. All that cloth pinned around one's head acted the same as long hair; that is it flowed and flapped all over the place, lots of chances to come into contact or at least very close range of a patient. Some religous orders had either shorter veils for nursing sisters or there was a special way to fold back and pin longer ones to keep all that fabric out of the way. If you've seen the film "Nun's Story" with Audrey Hepburn you'll notice this difference in how she wears the veil when on duty (pinned back) versus otherwise. This was also the way sisters usually wore veils when doing housework and or any other type of labour where flowing fabric would be a distraction and or possibly dangerous.

    The choice between the gauze "mob", cupcake or "maids" type of nursing cap versus the more firmer variety usually resulted from various influences from the school who chose them. Of primary concern to the nurses who had to wear them was the upkeep required. Many of the more elaborate versions such as the famous Philadelphia General Hospital School of Nursing (the Double Frill) and Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing (The Bellevue Fluff) were so difficult to do up properly at home they had to be sent to a hand laundry. Often only one local laundry near the hospital knew the ''secret" and they kept a lock on that business. For instance there was only one hand laundry in the United States that knew how to starch and goffer iron the Double Frill cap, so wherever a PGHSON grad went she had to send her cap back (via post or whatever) to that laundry to be cleaned and ironed.

    Other schools like Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing didn't want non grads to get their mitts on that cap so grads had to send the cap back to the school who in turn sent it to the approved laundry. Once it was laundered and ironed it was sent back to the owner.

    What Happened to the Cap? - Just Us Nurses is a forum created by nurses, for nurses. Discover the benefits of an online nursing community! Tell us about your nursing career or nursing school experiences.

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    ShariDCST, RetRN77, HazelLPN, and 2 others like this.
  9. 2
    I love your posts, DGTG. I always learn from them. The top pic with the array of caps is really interesting.
    RetRN77 and HazelLPN like this.
  10. 3
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