Dedication of hands to nursing: A ceremony of caring

Julia Ball, Thayer Wilson McGahee


Formerly, nursing schools held capping ceremonies for nursing students before their first clinical experience. Since nurses no longer wear caps, capping ceremonies with their rite of passage from regular student to student nurse have vanished. To bring back a ceremonial rite of passage for beginning student nurses, a ceremony of caring emphasizing the import of all that nurses’ hands can convey as they provide nursing care was conceived. Undergirded by Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring, the Hand Dedication Ceremony is an act of caring provided to first semester nursing students before their first clinical experience with patients. During the ceremony, students are charged to allow their hands to be guided not only by their new knowledge and skills but also by their hearts and spirits to transform skilled nursing tasks into skilled holistic nursing care. Students formally dedicate their hands to nursing and human caring as faculty ceremonially wash, dry, and apply oil to the students’ hands.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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