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It is true that what people wear on their heads can set them apart.
The ancient Romans honored their champions with laurel wreaths, nations
crown their kings and queens, and the taking of scholastic honors includes
wearing of mortarboards with an appropriate tassel. Wreaths, crowns, caps
– they all carry their singular significance. They set their wearers apart as
persons of distinction.

The nurse’s cap is a symbol of responsibility and involvement,

knowledge, wisdom, skills, marked by professionalism, discipline and
strength of mind and character. It is worn for ornamental and symbolic
reasons and carries with it personal commitment to the nursing profession.

The pin - the emblem of the single snake intertwining on a winged

staff called caduceus have long symbolized the much revered field of
medicine and is bestowed upon practitioners in that field as a sign of
reverence and responsibility accounted to those bestowed with such
mythical skills. The cap carries with it just the same significance and
symbol as the nurse’s cap.

The Capping and Candle Lighting Ceremony is a momentous

occasion which marks another milestone in a student’s life, wherein
students march towards their mentors to receive the much coveted cap or
pin and light the candle in their lamps. The candle lighting signifies the
student’s acceptance of the charge of the profession. The symbol of light
came from the Lady of the Light who began the flicker of hope for nursing
profession by showing the world h\what her caring heart and hands could
do. The lamp is a symbol of hope for love, understanding, health and life. It
paves the way for communication of knowledge, being like that of a candle
with another, which lights up at once.

The lamp signifies the mythical light and renewed spirit amidst
darkness of human suffering and pain; had closely been associated with
Florence Nightingale while she checked wounded soldiers during the
Crimean War. Other than this allegorical comparison, the light of the lamp
was also used as gauge to determine the adequacy of ventilation in
crowded field hospitals that was deemed vital to the care of the patients.

The symbolic Candle Lighting Ceremony testifies to the nursing

students being initiated to the nursing profession today; committed to the
ideals and principles of the person honored as the Mother of Modern

Student nurses, this Capping and Candle Lighting Ceremony is just

the beginning of a tomorrow full of challenges of much greater magnitude.
As you wear your cap and pin and light your candle, continue your journey
towards professional growth. May you become nurses who are competent,
caring, compassionate, active agents, critical thinkers, committed to quality
care and anchored in Christian values. Many await your caring hands. Do
not fail them.