Nursing Pins and Ceremonies

For well over 1000 years, nurses have had ceremonies to award them nursing
in celebration of their entrance into the career. Since time immemorial, healing has been considered a sacred calling and has been treated with great respect. Doctors and nurses were often considered the magicians or wise men of their time.

Pinning ceremonies were more than just a sign of respect, however. The pins were used to distinguish nurses and doctors from their layman contemporaries in a time before many people could read. So original nursing pins made healers instantly recognizable. Most of these original pins were called “Maltese Crosses” which was a very ornate square shaped cross.

As time went on, the pinning tradition continued, despite the spread of literacy and knowledge throughout the world. The tradition took on a ceremonial aspect, and something that all new nurses very much looked forward to, similarly to a high school or college graduation.

Every graduating class has a custom pin design that is all their own, but normally works off of the following themes:

*Maltese Cross

* Florence Nightingale Lamp

* Caduceus

* Red Cross

In this way, they take something away from the arduous task of training to be a nurse, something they can wear to remind them of why they entered this highly rewarding, but highly difficult field. Nursing pins are almost like a talisman to the nursing trade.

Ideas for making these custom pins comes from many sources, including:

  • The name of the school or institution
  • School or program colors
  • School mascots
  • The year in which they graduate

The decision is often a group effort, voted on and then sent off for production. Just keep in mind that if you plan on doing this for your nursing program, get your ideas together early, to make sure that you don’t have to settle on any aspect of your pin due to a time crunch. Then when the day comes you’ll have the perfect pin to send new nurses off into the world wearing.

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