The BCN served as the women's auxiliary of the UNIA, placing women in a supportive role, while the men's auxiliary served in a protective role. Local chapters were established with a matron, head nurse, secretary and treasurer to provide health services and hygiene education to black members of the community. Doctors, nurses and lay practitioners took courses ranging from six months to a year to make sure that standardized care was being given. In addition, upon graduation from the course, each member was required to purchase and wear their official uniform. It also provided a professional, organized structure for members,  giving them a means to appear in roles of public leadership. Duty uniforms, consisted of a green dress over which was worn an ivory apron accompanied by black shoes and stockings, set the BCN nurses apart from other nurses and united them as symbolically as members.