Nursing pins: future and past!
College graduation is often a time of gift giving and invitation sending and receiving. It is a time when families come together to celebrate a relative becoming an academic graduate. Your nephew is in school for nursing and has just sent you an invitation to his graduation. However, when you open the card, you find an invitation to nursing pinning ceremony instead of a typical graduate celebration ceremony. So, you ask, what is a nursing pinning ceremony?
It all dates back to the 1870’s during the Crimean War in Stucari or modern-day Istanbul. A woman named Florence Nightingale had just been deployed from England across the Black Sea to tend to wounded British soldiers. Put under extreme and undeveloped conditions, she was forced to make do with what little medical supplies she had to tend to the sick, injured and dying. Under amounting stress, she sent a letter to Britain pleading that they send newer and utilizable medical equipment to Stucari (Istanbul) so that she could better take care of the soldiers she was tending to. Although they sent Nightingale new equipment, death rates amongst soldiers were not improving. This forced Florence to reconsider and redesign much of the hospital she was working in to provide more sanitary operating conditions. Because of her clever thinking, there was a significant reduction in mortality rates and upon her return to England, Queen Victoria presented Nightingale with a custom Red Cross nursing pin in 1883 for her medical pioneering, bravery and wit.
After Florence Nightingale established her own nursing school, she awarded honorary students at a nursing pinning ceremony with custom nursing pins to celebrate their academic achievements. From 1916 and on, it became a tradition to not only award outstanding nurses but award all nurses as a way to celebrate their academic career and accomplishments. Today, before students are awarded they are allowed to dedicate their nursing pin to a mentor or other supporter that guided them along their path to graduating. It is both a ceremony of emotion and science coming together to celebrate a passion for pioneering a happier and healthier path for our future.
Because of her tendency to work late into the night under lamplight, Florence was nicknamed “The Lady with The Lamp”. Due to this, nursing pins awarded to nurses at nursing pinning ceremonies in the present day often display a picture of Florence Nightingale. The lamp has become the unspoken logo country-wide and still represents a major and important feat in nursing history.
After the graduates are awarded the custom nursing pins, they participate in a special candle lighting ceremony and pledge. Appropriately dubbed “The Florence Nightingale pledge,” the words are as follows:
“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.“