1. I know this may be a dumb question, but I am curious. I was watching that show Emergency, the other day, and the nurses still had hats. Some nurses had one black stripe on their hats and some had two,and some had none, and I remember being a little kid and in the hospital and some nurses hats had blue stripes across. So my question is do the stripes have some significance? Thanks!
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    About Paprikat

    Joined: Nov '01; Posts: 346; Likes: 26
    Nursing Home Administrator; from CA
    Specialty: Geriatrics


  3. by   Stargazer
    The symbolism, and significance, probably varied from school to school-- just as the hats did--but the stripes were also used, at least in some cases, to denote seniority. I remember reading a non-fiction book written by a nurse about her training in the '70s or '80s and how it was just as much of a rite of passage for the students to be awarded their stripe after passing med-surg as it was to get capped or pinned.
  4. by   KRVRN
    Students wore caps without stripes I believe. What I think is so funny about that show Emergency is that the student nurses wore blue dresses while the nurses wore white!
  5. by   NurseDennie
    Sort of from anecdotal reports, I understand that RN's wear a dark gray or black stripe. I think it's to indicate mourning for Florence Nightengale. I'm not sure what color LPN's wear but I'm thinking it's blue.

    My mother was a dental hygeinist and she had a cap with either one or two purple stripes, and she said that indicated dental hygeinist.

    I was thinking that maybe the number of stripes indicated if it was a diploma, AS or BS nurse, but probably not, given when people started wearing those stripes.


  6. by   Youda
    The kind of stripe and style of cap is chosen by the nursing school. Wide black velvet stripe might indicate you graduated from St. Mary's College of Nursing, two narrow black satin stripes if you graduated from University of Texas, whatever. Usually black was for RNs, blue for LPNs, but that wasn't always exact. Some RNs schools used red stripes, or other colors. I have no idea if schools still have a designated cap for new grads?

    Here's a link about the history of the nursing cap, it's symbolisms, etc.:
    Last edit by Youda on Nov 26, '02
  7. by   Tweety
    I think in our school the seniors had a stripe and the freshman didn't or had one stripe and the seniors had 2, I don't remember how many, but I think it had to do with years in school.
  8. by   donmurray
    In olden NHS days, RN's wore a wide navy stripe on their cap, whilst a student RN wore narrower, paler blue stripes denoting their years of training. Enrolled/pupil nurses (LPN'S) had a similar system, but in green, to match the respective uniform colours.
    I have fond memories of a friend, during the general nursing secondment in our Psych RN training, being confronted by a patronising staff nurse, who asked in front of the assembled staff, if as a psych student, she knew how to chart a blood pressure. Harriet smiled demurely, and pointing to her cap bearing three stripes, replied that she did not get them by being run over with a tricycle!
  9. by   fab4fan
    Stripes are totally up to the school of nursing.

    My freshman year, we had no stripes. Junior year, a diagonal stripe on the R & L corners of the cap. Senior year, full stripe.

    Graduation...graduate cap that looked totally different from the student stripes.
  10. by   Agnus
    Ok this is the way it went. (I first attended a hospital LPN program in 1969 and a community college based RN program in 1972. Though at the times I graduated from neither)
    Every school had it's own cap. Every school varied on the use of stripes. Some schools did not have strips at all.

    The strips could be any color. Often they were one or more of the school colors. For example in my LPN program you were awarded your cap sans strip after 3 months. You got a gold strip superimposed over a navy stripe after 6 months.

    In my RN program you wore a cap from day one. You got a black stripe at graduation.

    The times and occasions on which you received a cap or strip varied with every school. Generally it was after a certain mile stone in the program.

    The hospital where we trained had instituted a rule. At the time only RNs could take orders. To make it easier for a doctor to identify an RN, the RNs were required to wear at least one black stripe reguardless what her school had issued. This policy was at this one hospital.
    Tradition says that the black indicated morning for Florence Nightengale and the majority or RN schools issued black strips. Like I said some had no stripe at all.
  11. by   zudy
    This is the way is was for us: In LPN school, the first 6 months we wore plain white caps. The second 6 months we had a pink stripe. (We wore PINK uniforms. Except for the men, natch.) In Rn school, we wore plain white caps as jrs, As seniors we wore dark green stripes, and as graduates we had a black stripe . We were told it was black because we were in mourning for Florence Nightinggale. Does anyone remember RN Journal of Nursing having a special cover once a year showing the caps from different nursing schools? I always liked looking at other peoples caps. They also did that with the different school pins.
  12. by   aus nurse
    Ahhhh...the memories!!!

    I trained in the early 80's. We wore caps (gawd it took a while to learn how to pin your hair up under them). Stripes on the cap indicated what year of student nursing you were in. 1 for 1st year and so on. RN's did not wear caps..once we were finished it was a big deal to not have them. The year after I finished they did away with the caps...the students no longer had them. Then, of course, they did away with hospital training altogether.
  13. by   Paprikat
    Thanks for the was interesting to read them....
  14. by   TheLionessRN
    I understood that the black stripe indicated an RN and that two parallel green hash mark stripes indicated LPN. I know no one else likes them but I would have loved to wear a cap when I worked the floor so that patients would not be confused about who was walking in the door.