Nursing Pins

Like her uniform and cap, the Lorrain nurse's school pin was a symbol of professional status and a sign of allegiance to her nursing school. Upon graduation, a nurse received her diploma, graduate cap with black band, and school pin.

The Lorrain Pin
The Lorrain School of Nursing name, the school motto ”FIDELES IN OMNIBUS” - “Faithful in Everything” and the year of graduation were engraved on the front of the gold pin with the nurse’s name on the back. Usually made of enamelled gold, engraved on the reverse with the name or initials of the graduate and the school, pins [e.g. graduation pins] were prized possessions. Sometimes the maker of the pin is also indicated on the reverse.

The Pinning Ceremony: An honored tradition
The Lorrain School of Nursing pinning ceremony took place during and was an integral part of the graduation rite where faculty members presented these pins to the newly graduated nursing students as a symbolic welcome into the profession. Lorrain graduates also received a Lorrain School of Nursing cap pin during the graduation ceremony. The blue and gold cap pin was designed to illustrate the school crest, the LSN motto and year of graduation.

The pins were and continue to be treasured mementoes of the nursing students’ time at LSN


1967 Graduates –Joanne Plebon, Brenda Murphy, Margaret Kehoe and Ann Howard admire their school pins at graduation.

History of the Nurse’s Pin
The ancestor of the nursing pin is thought to be the Maltese cross. It was originally given to members of two significant contributors to the foundation of both hospitals and hospital standards - the Knights Hospitalier and the Knights of the Order of Lazarus, pioneers of communicable disease care and other chronic skin diseases. As the Renaissance period progressed, other types of medals and pins were then given to other providers of exclusive services.

The tradition of providing a nursing pin and the ceremonial pinning originated in the 1860s at the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Having been recently awarded The Red Cross of St. George for her selfless service to the injured and dying in the Crimean War, Florence chose to extend this honor to her most outstanding graduate nurses by presenting each of them with a medal for excellence.

The Wolverton Royal Hospital in England initiated the tradition of presenting all graduates with a badge.

The first North American pin was presented to the graduating class of 1880 at the Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing in New York City. . Most pins have a symbolic meaning, often representing the history of the nursing program for that school of nursing. Some schools also provided lapel and cap pins.