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The Student Nurse Uniform: “In Good Taste”

Eighteen young women pose for a portrait. They are wearing closed nurses' capes, and are outside before a fence. The photographer's shadow can be seen on the ground.

The Class of 1944 receive their nurses’ capes!


A neatly dressed nurse is a credit to her whole profession; a complete uniform is a beautiful thing.

Margaret, Class of 1947

There were strict rules regarding a nurse’s appearance in uniform. Student nurses were only allowed to wear their complete uniform while on duty or during classroom lectures.  They were also warned against using too much make-up, nail polish, perfume and jewelry. As the handbook explains, it was “not in good taste in uniform.”

The nurse’s uniform is very important. It signifies her rank in the school, and the right to wear it has been earned by long hours of careful preparation. 

Margaret, Class of 1947

A sketch of a nurse in uniform, complete with cape.

Sketch of the student nurse’s cape.

When travelling between the student nurses’ residence and the hospital, the students wore nursing capes. Each nursing school designed its own cape. Women’s College Hospital’s cape was a navy blue heavy wool cape with red interior. Each student had her name embroidered in black on the red lining, and the initials W.C.H. in light blue on the collar.

To the disappointment of many students, in 1968 the school changed from the nursing cape to a more practical beige trench coat.



Listen to Pat and Margaret, Class of 1958, talk about the uniform rules.

Audio clip with transcript: Pat and Margaret talk about their uniforms.