The Stethoscope Ceremony
Transforming Traditions in Nursing
A nursing tradition has been reborn at MUSC. It rekindles the fire that was originally lit by the lamp of Florence Nightingale by transforming the honor of nursing's traditional "Capping Ceremony" to a more contemporary and equally important event. Through a collaborative effort among the nurses of the College of Nursing; the Medical University Hospital; and Sigma Theta Tau International, Gamma Omicron At-Large Chapter; the baccalaureate students are recognized by the new tradition of a "Stethoscope Ceremony."
Most nursing faculty fondly remember the importance of their own "Capping Ceremony" -- a time of recognition and reflection on the paths they were pursing in their chosen career. Yet times and norms have changed, and nurses stopped wearing their caps years ago. Sadly, a ceremony celebrating this academic and professional milestone also stopped, as nurses became focused on trying to meet the demands of their stressful work and school environments.
In a renewal of these values and this rite of passage, the MUSC faculty decided to use the power of the stethoscope and words from their colleagues to connote this same tradition of welcoming students into the family of nursing. The campus chapel, with candles flickering and organ music softly playing in the background, captures the air of expectancy among students, families and faculty. In a formal ceremony, the entering baccalaureate students are presented with a stethoscope as a tangible tool of their profession and listen to words of inspiration about the career they have chosen for their life's work. And so a new tradition has been born.
"For those of you beginning your nursing studies, I hope you will remember the pride and excitement you feel tonight each and every time you use this stethoscope. Above all, may you always remember this evening as your faculty remember their own Capping Ceremony, and may it remind you of those nurses and colleagues who nourished your learning, challenged your understandings, and illuminated your way." - Dean Gail Stuart