Nursing pins – Its significance and history

Nursing pins – Its significance and history

Posted by Melissa Brandt on 9th Jul 2017

Nowadays, talking about pins can be quite confusing as people quickly relate with the social media website Pinterest. However, pins are much more than what you get on this site. Pins are prestigious mementos for nursing students who receive their graduation degree in Bachelor of Science Nursing commonly stated as BSN. This is the reason that the ceremonial pins conferred on students and the BSN pins are the same. The pinning ceremony is a milestone in the life of a nurse because on that day for the first time the world comes to know about the success that the student has achieved and graduated to enter the professional world of nursing. The nursing pinning ceremony gives a grand send off to nursing students signaling the end of their academic career and at the same time launches them into their professional world that beckons them.

Historical ceremony

The pinning ceremony has a long history that dates back to the twelfth century during the Crusades. Crusaders who were injured and underwent sufferings were attended to by knights who nursed and cared for them. As the Crusade continued, more and more monks enrolled in the Knight’s order who wished to carry on the work of serving the distressed crusaders. The old order paved the way for new and to acknowledge the contribution of the earlier monks, each received a Maltese cross for wearing on his or her arms.

The trend of honoring the sick and ailing continued and surfaced once again during the Crimean War of the 1860s when Florence Nightingale set the gold standards in nursing. Her selfless service in attending to the injured people in the war was highly praised and recognized when she was bestowed with the Red Cross of St. George as a mark of supreme honor.

Building a tradition

Florence Nightingale first felt the need to appreciate the service, sacrifice, and dedication of nurses at large instead of just picking a few for accolades. She presented a medal of excellence to the hard working nursing graduates that not only recognized their contribution but also motivated them. Since 1916, it became a tradition in the US to make the process of recognition much more widespread by including all nursing students for the medal. In the process, a pin replaced the medal of excellence that every qualifying student received at a special ceremony. This tradition continues today in the name of Pinning Ceremony. The pin identifies them as nurses and bears testimony to their education.

Pin Design

The pin design varies from one nursing school to another but has some common design elements. The design of pins have evolved but the St, George’s Cross and the bowl of Hygeia, the serpent that resembles wisdom. In some pins, the caduceus that has become the unofficial symbol of the medical fraternity is used. Along the circumference of the pin, you will find the name of the nursing school.

Companies like are specialists in making all kinds of pins and other mementos like nursing lamps. Log on to the website and use the online ordering facility to place your order.