Nursing’s “pinning” ceremony is steeped in tradition

Photo of a nursing student in 1955
A nursing student being “pinned” in 1955.

The day before commencement, WSU College of Nursing undergraduates will take part in 100-year-old tradition handed down from none other than Florence Nightingale – the pinning ceremony. 

During convocation, students are “pinned” by a faculty member, family member or friend – someone who has been important to them in their nursing education. The act of pinning ceremonially welcomes undergrad nurses into the profession.

Each nursing school has its own pin design, many featuring an oil lamp. This design is a tribute to Nightingale, who was called “the Lady with the Lamp” by soldiers during the Crimean War in 1854.

Nightingale established a training school for nurses and is credited with revolutionizing the practice of nursing and the profession. The Nightingale School of Nursing awarded badges to nurses as they completed their program, and the practice took hold in both England and the United States.


The WSU College of Nursing will graduate 121 “prelicensure” Bachelor of Science in Nursing students this week from programs in Spokane, Yakima and the Tri-Cities. The schedule of Convocations are:

May 4 – Yakima Spring 2017 Convocation, 4 p.m., Valley Life Church

May 4 – Spokane Spring 2017 Convocation, 6 p.m., INB Performing Arts Center

May 5 – Tri-Cities Spring 2017 Convocation, 6 p.m., Red Lion Hanford Hotel 

Photo of pin
An image of the nursing pin currently used by WSU College of Nursing.
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