About the badge
The Nightingale Badge
Dame Alicia Lloyd Still, who was then matron of St Thomas’ Hospital, commissioned the ‘hospital badge’ in 1925 and it was first struck in the same year.
The design of the badge is taken from the white eight-pointed cross of the Knights Crusaders of St John of Jerusalem (now Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem). The ancient organisation was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1888 and is best known today for its work as the St John Ambulance.
The Cross has been linked with St Thomas’ Hospital and its traditions by the inclusion in its design of the Coat of Arms of the Hospital with is Tudor rose fleur de lys and shield with the sword of St Paul. The centre of the design portrays the head of Miss Nightingale in relief, and the words ‘Scola Sancti Thomas’ on the reverse is the owner’s name with the date of her certificate.
The blue reflects the colour of the ribbon on the Order of Merit which was awarded to Florence Nightingale in 1907. She was the first woman to be awarded this honour. The badge was awarded to nurses who qualified from the Nightingale Training School, St Thomas’ Hospital and who had also passed a hospital examination and served for a fixed period as a junior staff nurse, or ‘red belt’, within the hospital.
The Prayer of the Knights Crusaders for all who wear the white eight-pointed Cross is as follows:
‘Let us pray God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, that as we wear the sign of our redemption, so we may ever remember in our lives that its four arms symbolise the Christian virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Fortitude; that its points represent the eight Beautitudes which spring from the practice of these virtues; and that its whiteness is the emblem of that purity of life required in those who fight for the defence of the Christian faith and live for the service of the poor and suffering. Amen’
Many members of the Fellowship and other Nightingale nurses are proud to wear the Nightingale badge which is recognised world-wide as a symbol of nursing excellence. Badges continue to be worn with pride both at work and socially. The badge is no longer required to be returned to the Fellowship on the death of the recipient.