Student Nurse Uniform Progression
In the 51 years that the North Carolina Baptist Hospital School of Nursing was in existence, the student uniform changed three times.
Miss Edna Heinzerling, founder of the school, describes the first uniform like this in her history of the school: the first student uniforms were a nice shade of blue with white gored aprons, long sleeves, stiff cuffs buttoned on, and a stiff “Buster Brown” collar. It was a well tailored uniform with real dignity. This is a photo of Juanita Hayes Marshall's Uniform, class of 1928. The first student uniform was in use from 1923 until 1943.
Like other nursing schools in 1923, many of the uniforms were worn with pride and dignity. The white uniform became well known in nursing, establishing a proper image for nurses who performed professional duties.
NCBH nursing students wore black shoes and hose for their first two years and in the senior year, they could wear white hose and shoes. Miss Heinzerling states in the history that after a two-month probation period, the students who were accepted into the program received a white bib and the school cap.
The cap is what distinguishes each nursing school from others. The color and width of the band, as well as the design of the cap varies from school to school. At NCBH, the graduates of NCBH School of Nursing wore a broader black velvet band than the senior students.
The second time the uniform changed at NCBH School of Nursing was in 1944, again at the suggestion of Miss Heinzerling. The uniform is described as a dark blue dress with bib-front apron and fixed waistline. This is a photo of Sarah Covington Wikle's Uniform, class of 1947. The second student uniform was in use from 1944 until 1968.
Also, by 1944, upcoming senior students attended a Black Band Supper/Tea and officially became seniors by adding the black band to their caps. Graduates continued to wear the broader black band.
The last time the uniform changed at NCBH School of Nursing was in 1969. Like the second one, this third uniform was also blue but lighter with a fine white stripe. The top is belted in the back and covered with an A-line apron that opens on the side. The shoulder had the hospital’s insignia on it. This is a photo of student nurses wearing the latest student uniform, 1969-1974. (The Archives does not own a uniform from this time period)
- Heinzerling, Edna. NCBH School of Nursing History. 1960, p. 31
- Twin City Sentinel/Winston-Salem Journal. “A New Look Is In Style at Hospital.” 1969.
- Houweling, Lynn. “Image, Function, and Style: A history of the nursing uniform.” American Journal of Nursing. Vol. 104:4, April 2004, p. 40-48.