The history of the Nurse's Hat

 


Let's talk about...you guessed it, that hat. What's it all about? Nurses in the past lovingly talked about their hats and proudly wore them. But you won't find too many nurses today wearing these little gems. The first and last time I ever wore mine was for my graduation picture many moons ago.  In fact, I have never even owned one. We actually used the same hat for our entire graduating class. How's that for germ control?

But why did nurses start wearing the hats to being with?
In the early Christian era, there was a group of women who were  "deaconesses." We now consider Deaconesses nuns. These "nuns" wore white caps with a veil that covered their head and it identified and categorized these women as working to care for the sick. 

 
 
Nurse hat in the 1800's

Nurse hat in the 1800's

Early 1900's Nursing class

Early 1900's Nursing class

In the Victorian era, this cap with a veil attached evolved into more of a cap without the veil. During this era, women wore these hats to keep their fashionably long hair out of their face while they were working.  The style of the cap during this era was ruffled around the face and it tied around the neck, like a bonnet. 

 
Nurse in the Victorian era

Nurse in the Victorian era

Florence Nightingale originally used the cap in the 1800s. The more senior the nurse was, the longer and frillier their hat was. It was also used to identify nurses in the hospital setting from other personnel. 

When head lice were very common, it was a way to tell if a nurse's head was infested. If she had lice, the lice would jump up onto the hat, and it would be possible to see them....Yikes!

Some say the cap worked as a barrier from diseases and bacteria that could be transmitted from patient to patient. To me, it makes more sense that this would be a medium for bacteria to grow, 
 

 


In the late 1800s, the Bellevue Hospital of Nursing in New York introduced a new nursing cap that they used to identify nurses who had graduated from their school. The hat was made from linen and was similar to a ski hat, in the way that it covered both ears.  Soon, more nursing schools began to adopt this idea and designed their own versions of the nursing school hat.

In the 1980s, the nursing caps begin to disappear to introduce a more unisex version of the nurses uniform, the scrubs. Healthcare facilities no longer require nurses to wear hats. But it remains a symbol of a nurse. I love my scrubs, and I'm not parting with them. But it is nice to take a walk down memory lane and we sure have come a long way! 

We are going to be posting pictures of our community members in the caps, right on this page. If you would like us to add your picture to this page, please send it in to us @ onlyanurse2013@yahoo.com. 

We are also working on an article about "The history of the nurse's uniform." We would love to get some great pictures of our community nurses in their uniforms to add to the end of the article.  If you would like us to add your picture send it in to us at the email listed above. It can be anything from the traditional nursing  dress, to the modern scrubs. Even if you're daily attire is a surgical nurse scrub outfit, but you want us to post it, send it in. This is going to be so much fun!

 
1800's Nurse

1800's Nurse

 
Today's Nurse in Latest Scrubs from Amazon.com

Today's Nurse in Latest Scrubs from Amazon.com

Here are some of our community members great uniform pictures that we received.


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