LAST January 15, the College of Midwifery of Tagoloan Community College (TCC) held its first candlelighting and badge investiture ceremony for its pioneering class for the diploma in midwifery program.

The said program was participated in by its 31 students, of which only one was male among the candidates.

But what is this ceremony all about?

The candlelighting and badge investiture is a school-related activity that is being practiced among schools of health professions particularly, nursing and midwifery.

For nursing schools, this is also known as the “Cap & Badge and Candlelighting” as female nurses wear a distinctively designed white crisp caps while male nurses wear badges with the emblem of their school seal, the Nightingale’s lamp and the caduceus.

The caps and badges are all highly symbolic in the profession.

Since midwives do not wear caps, they are instead vested with badges of the same symbolic meaning as those with the nurses, after all, as healthcare providers nurses and midwives collaboratively work side-by side although with different but related fields of specializations within the sphere of healthcare.

The roots of this ceremony have a long history of share.

But to cut the story short, it all started with Florence Nightingale, an authority figure in nursing, during the Crimean war.

Nightingale was also known as the ‘lady with the lamp’ as she had used a lamp to light her path as she served the wounded soldiers of a clinic camp that she had set up to provide them unconditional nursing care even in the most ungodly hours of the night.

Therefore, this is what the lamp or candle symbolizes during the ceremony. It entails service.

On the other hand, the badge symbolizes the nobility of a health-related profession.

Parallel to the era of Nightingale, the badge used to be a part of the ‘coat-of-arms’ that was awarded to distinctive individuals in society with exceptional skills in the practice of medicine and health care.

Overall, the candlelighting and badge investiture serve as a rite of passage.

This ceremony will always remind the beginning practitioners of midwifery the meaning and reason for its existence.

Furthermore, this also elucidates the magnanimous responsibilities, selfless dedication and calling of the midwifery profession in service of the Filipino women and children, whose lives maybe at stake due to multiple facets of health threats that necessitates the services of competent midwives.

In a personal interview with Dr. Daisy Colleen Young-Mercado, dean of the college of midwifery at TCC, she shares that, “This ceremony serves as a blessing for the batch before they actually handle and assist in the deliveries of their real-live patients in the hospital and community.”

Among the academic as well as professional requirements of the midwifery program under the Philippine midwifery law prior to licensure examination is a proof of competence by the student in handling deliveries.

This is evidenced by managing the deliveries of 20 pregnant women; with five of its cases the student has sutured the lacerations and another five cases for which the student has started an intravenous line.

“They will be given the exposure they need to hone their skills in obstetrics and childcare,” Mercado maintains.

She adds: “I foresee them as the future healthcare professionals who will be instrumental in achieving the millennium development goals of improving maternal health and reducing child mortality in the country in general and in region 10 in particular.”

Personally speaking, being a part of the faculty of TCC College of Midwifery, I have high hopes for my students.

I envision them to become future leaders of the profession be it in the fields of midwifery education, public health, research or entrepreneurship.

I know someday they will all live up to the expectations we set for them.

For now, I congratulate them for this new milestone that they have achieved and I wish them good luck as they answer the calling of their chosen profession and vocation—midwifery.

“Manus Excrusias Incunabulis!” or “The hands that rock the cradle!”