Educate and Inspire:
The MUSC College of Nursing

Transforming Traditions

Caps to Coats

Nursing school graduates from the 1980s and before fondly remember their “Capping Ceremony” as a personal and academic milestone in their journey toward professional nursing. Yet times and norms have changed, and nurses stopped wearing caps decades ago and the Capping Ceremony died out.

However, in 2002, this nursing tradition was reborn when, under Dean Stuart, the College of Nursing celebrated its first “Stethoscope Ceremony.” Reflecting the changes in nursing in a more contemporary and equally important event, the “Stethoscope Ceremony” welcomes students into the family of nursing.

Entering accelerated baccalaureate degree students are presented with a stethoscope as a tangible tool of their profession as they listen to words of inspiration about the career they have chosen.

More than a decade later, the College of Nursing expanded the Stethoscope Ceremony to include a White Coat Ceremony and presentation of a Humanism in Medicine lapel pin.

Students now wear their white coats and are presented with lapel pins that symbolize compassionate respect of nurses for their patients. Student nurses still experience the same rite of passage as their forebears, although instead of caps as symbols of their commitment to their new professional, stethoscopes and white coats serve this function.