The figures in the Gnoman represent past, present and future. They also represent growth as each figure shown is larger than the last. The first figure (past) is shown carrying a lamp, indicating Florence Nightingale and the beginning of nursing as we think of it today. The second figure (present) is shown holding a book, indicating the important educational and intellectual changes in the profession. The third figure (future) is shown carrying a Globe indicating the multiracial nature of nurses.