For doctors and nurses world-wide, a lapel pin pinning ceremony can be a big deal.
It’s graduation season at colleges and training schools across the country, but if you have a nursing student in the family, you may find yourself receiving an invitation to a nursing pinning ceremony, rather than the usual all-school graduation assembly.
What’s a pinning ceremony? The history of it can be traced all the way back to Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the first “modern nurse” who distinguished herself through her leadership and selfless caring for sick and wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. Upon her return to England after the war, Queen Victoria a presented a custom lapel pin to Florence Nightingale for her pioneering work and service in the field of nursing.
Nightingale continued this tradition in her own nurse training school and awarded personalized nursing pins to honor outstanding nurse graduates. Today, as a way to welcome men and women to the profession, graduating nursing students receive a custom lapel pin to wear throughout their career. During the special ceremony, each graduate has the opportunity to dedicate the nursing pin before being adorned with it. Some dedicate their lapel pins to faculty members or family members who helped them along their journey, or to a close friend, or to the spiritual force they feel guided them.
What do nursing pins look like? Some of these nursing pins for pinning ceremonies include the name of the school program and a lamp or light design to commemorate Nightingale’s service. Florence Nightingale was nicknamed “the lady with the lamp” by soldiers for her late night work; since then, the lamp has become the unofficial logo of nursing. Some personalized nursing pins are in the actual shape of a lamp. Other pins are round and contain a 3-D design showing a lamp or light, or the design may show the college, or another health-related logo or medical symbol. Even more nursing pins for pinning ceremonies incorporate images of Nightingale herself, or are in the form of a red cross, just like the pin Nightingale received from Queen Victoria.
After receiving their personalized nursing pins, graduates then take part in a candle lighting ceremony. And at the very end? Newly minted nurses recite the Florence Nightingale Pledge, the heartfelt words that will guide them throughout their careers:
The Florence Nightingale Pledge
“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly to faithfully practice my profession of nursing. I will do all in my power to make and maintain the highest standards and practices of my profession.
I will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping in the practice of my calling. I will assist the physician in his work and will devote myself to the welfare of my patients, my family, and my community.
I will endeavor to fulfill my rights and privileges as a good citizen and take my share of responsibility in promoting the health and welfare of the community.
I will constantly endeavor to increase my knowledge and skills in nursing and to use them wisely. I will zealously seek to nurse those who are ill wherever they may be and whenever they are in need.
I will be active in assisting others in safeguarding and promoting the health and happiness of mankind.”