Honoring Nurses: The Meaning Behind Pinning Ceremonies

Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare system. As patient advocates and skilled care providers, they have the unique ability to combine their medical knowledge with compassion to ensure that each patient receives the best possible care. Schools often celebrate their nurses through pinning ceremonies.

The Ceremony

Pinning ceremonies are held separately from graduation, making them more intimate and meaningful for the graduates and their families. Like graduation, it is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishment of becoming a nurse, but while graduation highlights the completion of academic study, the pinning ceremony marks the important transition from student to nurse. Each graduate selects a person to dedicate their pin to; usually a friend, faculty, or family member. That person will come up on stage to secure the nursing pin to the graduate’s lapel. Speeches and stories are shared, and a ceremonial candle lighting is also typically held. It is often described as an emotional and beautiful ceremony.

The Pin

The history of nursing pins dates back to the 12th century. During the Crusades, those who were devoted to caring for the injured and ill were given large Maltese crosses to wear on the battlefields. Symbols like the Maltese cross remained an important way to signal one’s service to a particular cause. In the 1800’s Florence Nightingale, widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing, received the Red Cross of St. George for her incredible contributions during the Crimean War. Nightingale knew that recognizing stellar performance was an important part of improving nursing standards. When she started her own nurse training program, Nightingale gave medals of excellence to her brightest graduates. Eventually, her nursing school in London designed and awarded a badge with a Maltese Cross to all nurses as they completed their program.

The Value

Today, nursing pins are highly customized to represent the pride and values of their respective school. Nurses will often wear them on their hospital badges, display them in keepsake shadow boxes, or keep them in a jewelry box where they’ll be seen often. The pin’s history, significance, and symbolism make it an important part of every nurse’s journey. At Dion, we take pride in creating these important pins, and know that nursing graduates deserve something truly special. We’re also proud to offer custom badge holders that ensure recognition is always on display.

No matter the occupation or organization, recognition ceremonies help motivate honorees to keep succeeding. Having a custom award item ensures that they’ll always have a tangible reminder of their accomplishments. If you’d like to honor your members, employees, or team members with something custom, getting started with Dion is easy! Simply This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. give us a call, or message us to get started.

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