When I entered nursing school, I had no idea of the formalities entailed in the course. All I knew was that student nurses wear an all white dress, stockings and shoes, with their hair in a clean bun, all neat and pretty with their black duty bags, going to the hospital for their duties and what not.
Well apparently, I left out one of the most vital ceremonies in nursing- the Capping and Candle Lighting Ceremony.
In our school, the ceremony is a departmental affair. This was the day that second year students formally receive their nameplates, white caps and their Nightingale lamp. Yup, even boys get a white cap, the only difference was while we get ours “capped” by our dean, they offer theirs to a statue of Mama Mary set up on the stage.
Let’s go back to a few weeks prior to the event. A classmate named Nicole, scouted for people who can learn photoshop and were willing to volunteer as part of the invitation committee. So off we went, learning the ins and outs of Photoshop through YouTube and internet tutorials. As I mentioned before, this was the year that the clinical instructors left the planning of the ceremony to the students, from the invitations to the venue. I consider it a blessing that I was an officer in the Nursing Students’ Association at that time and our president was very adamant on helping us go through with the ceremony. With Kuya Jayson’s leadership, we had a photoshoot with Kuya Gau and the fourth year students became our instant backbone.They, together with the third year students also consisted more than half of the audience during the ceremony, as per the mandate of the dean, so the auditorium would not look empty. It was nice that my NSA ’12-’13 family voiced out their concerns regarding the CI’s decisions and immediately responded to the crisis at hand. Going back to the invitations, here’s the very first project that was forwarded to me by Nicole, the CI’s wanted Nightingale to be at the front cover of the invitation, as well as St. Vincent, as well as of course, the title, the theme, the venue, the time and it must represent the colors of nursing – green and yellow. Easy task no? Not.
Apparently, he had a meeting with our batch moderator and the CIs wanted those elements in the front cover and they wanted to see the cover as soon as possible. That night, he sent me his little project and asked for improvements. And that was when I first opened and started my photoshop project. Can you see her yeeeeett?
Hahaha, try squinting your eyes a bit, or increasing the brightness of your gadget. You’ll see that there’s a person there, a person named Nightingale. Yup, that’s her, or a sketch of her. Florence Nightingale, the mama of Nursing, the lady with the lamp. Get it? That’s why there’s such a thing as the candle lighting ceremony. Anyway, so that file was sent to me to include improve and add the required elements, and thus, I created the front cover as well as the back:
The CIs chose Nicole’s design for the front cover however, as the font in mine was, apparently, unreadable. But I got dibbs on the back cover, so all efforts weren’t wasted.
Now, the invitation was done. 14 pages in total, including the front and back cover, done in one month by two photoshop noobs. I’ll say holding that invitation was a very proud moment.
Next up, the day itself. The program, as you can see above, started in the afternoon. We walked to our seats to the tune of At the Beginning, a song that was “wasoy” during my high school years. Soon, to the tune of Sanctus by Libera, we were marching to the stage accompanied by a parent to obtain the pin, cap and lamp. During the mass, the priest blessed the caps, nameplates and the lamps, then the ceremony started immediately after. First task: The Pinning Ceremony. Our nameplates were a literal pin and most of the parents were nearing the 50’s-60’s years thus, there were some delays in the pinning. This was why the succeeding batch had magnetic nameplates oh di ba, less hassle. Then from that station, we moved on to the next ceremony: The Capping Ceremony. Basically, we kiss the white cap, then the dean simply pins the cap on top of our bun, congratulates us and the parents. The boys however, kiss the cap and offer it to the statue of Mama Mary before proceeding to the next station. Don’t worry, each cap has a name sticker inside so they wouldn’t get the cap with another boy’s spit, hehe. On to the third station, The Lamp Station. Here was where we received the mini lamp, and posed next to a big lamp for a souvenir photo. Then we went back to our seats, standing, as practiced, until the last person in the row arrived and we sat down altogether.
On and on the ceremony went until the fourth year students were passing white roses to the sophomores. Apparently, the NSA prepared a gift for the parents, to thank them for their effort and support that we were able to arrive in that stage in our nursing career.
We thought that was the last surprise, bu apparently, our babies(freshmen) also had a surprise for us! They gifted us with red, blue and black ballpens – much needed items for duty – for good luck. It was nice.
The ceremony ended not long after, with our NIghtingale pledge.
Time to go and celebrate! We were finally, officially, “Student Nurses”!
Duty starts Monday.