Elizabeth Scott


This paper will argue for an innovation in the field of academic dress, for nursing graduates. Various areas will be examined: the origin of the epitoge and its development in recent times; women and academia; changes to nursing education in the UK; parallels in custom between academia and the nursing profession; the significance of the custom of wearing caps (or not); and finally a proposal for a modern epitoge. Nursing has only very recently joined the echelons of higher education. Consequently academic dress was approved for, and allocated to, nursing graduates either pre-registration, or post-registration advanced level. The results were by no means standard between institutions. Ultimately, this paper proposes combining the tradition of academic dress with the tradition of the qualified nurse—the design of a shortened epitoge to wear in addition to any academic hood awarded, thus allowing the traditional nurse training badge to be affixed to the epitoge and worn as part of academic dress. It is logical to start this discourse with a journey into medieval times in order to re-acquaint ourselves with the academic epitoge.