Nurse badges, which began in the 19th century, were received by a nurse or midwife on completion of their training and each were individual and significant to that hospital.
The tradition was phased out in the 80s when training moved into colleges and universities but now, 5,000 staff at Solihull Hospital, Heartlands and Good Hope have the chance to earn a HEFT nursing and midwifery badge.
Chief nurse Mandie Sunderland, who launched the new standard last week, said: “We hope it will become a badge of honour, something to keep and be proud of. We’re bringing badges back for a whole new generation of nurses.
“Nurses used to treasure their badges, you could tell where a nurse had come from by looking at her badge. There were some really lovely traditions around them too. At St Thomas’ hospital, nurses were told they had to be buried with their badges.”
Although Solihull Hospital was thought to be too small to merit its own badge, one of the Trusts’s other hospitals, Good Hope, formerly had a badge resembling a dark blue Maltese cross.
The Trust’s new design was voted for from a shortlist of three and features it’s distinctive ‘H’ and the words Pride, Passion and Professionalism .
To be eligible, nurses must achieve 100 per cent in an online learning programme, sign the Trust’s working values and get two references from patients and staff.
Already, 1,300 nurses have undertaken the online learning and the first hundred to pass will receive their new badge in a special ceremony in May.
It’s an idea which Ms Sunderland believes will catch on in other hospitals.
“We’ve had a lot of people asking about it. We’re bringing badges back!”