Eleven sophomore students from the University College of the Cayman Islands School of Nursing have received their nurses caps.
The capping ceremony marked a milestone for UCCI, as this is the first class in the new nursing program to reach this point, University President Roy Bodden said.
“The journey begins with the first step, and while [this] evening may have not been the first step of the nursing program, it is the most significant step they have taken thus far, and we intend, by God’s help, to continue to take the other significant steps until this cohort has passed out and then we will nurture the other ones coming along,” Mr. Bodden said.
Thursday’s ceremony at the university’s Sir Vassel Johnson Hall was attended by several dignitaries and government officials, along with family and friends of the student nurses.
“Answering the Call: Raising the Standards” was the theme chosen for the first batch of nurses making the journey towards obtaining their four-year Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. The nurses from Thursday night’s ceremony have now entered their second year of the program, which launched last year.
The nursing program is a partnership between UCCI, the Cayman Islands government’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, and the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.
Deputy chairman of UCCI’s board of governors, Linford Pierson, spoke on behalf of the board, as chairperson Sheree Ebanks who was not in attendance. He gave credit to UCCI’s Director of Nursing Terica Larmond and Mr. Bodden for moving the program forward.
UCCI Dean of Academic Affairs Allan Young welcomed two of Cayman’s senior nurses – Josie Solomon and Hyacinth Rose – to the ceremony.
Guest speaker Lyria Lawson-Josephs, registrar of the Health Practice Commission, encouraged the nurses not to give up and to “wear your caps with pride.” Premier Alden McLaughlin, also in attendance at the ceremony, said nurses were in demand worldwide.
“You are getting the right education to embark on a field where you should not have too much difficulty getting a job. A career received through nursing should give you a sense of self joy and self satisfaction from helping others,” he said.
Education Minister Tara Rivers said the ministry recognized that healthcare was an industry that offered many opportunities for those with the right skills and merited the government’s engagement. She told the trainee nurses that, whatever field they eventually decided to specialize in, the practical skills they would learn in their clinical studies were crucial.
Health Minster Osbourne Bodden told the students, “Oftentimes, pain and suffering can be medicated by the treatment by that nice touch you all bring to the table.”
Mr. Bodden left them with words his mother told him, “To be in nursing, medicine or religion, you must have heart.” At the end of Thursday’s ceremony, nurses lit candles from a candle held by Ms. Larmond, who was dressed as Florence Nightingale.
History of capping
A nurse’s cap was part of the uniform introduced early in the profession, with the purpose of keeping a nurse’s hair in place and presenting a modest appearance.
Florence Nightingale was among the first to don the cap. As time passed, and as more men entered the profession, the caps that had signified nurses’ educational background and level of expertise were phased out. They are still used for ceremonial purposes, to mark the beginning of a nurse’s hospital training.