Ancient nursing symbols - page 2

Hello all, I have scoured the web and found nothing on ancient nursing symbols. We all know what the medical symbol looks like, but I was wondering if there is a specific symbol for our... Read More

  1. by   RPN_2012
    This is a symbol for healing too

    I found it here If you could have any tattoo... (spoilers) - Comic Book Resources Forums
  2. by   llg
    It's not exactly ancient ... but shouldn't someone have mentioned the "lamp" before this? It is acknowledged worldwide as a symbol of nursing. (From Florence NIghtingale's lamp that she carried from bed to bed)
  3. by   elkpark
    There certainly is an "ancient symbol of nursing" (in addition to Flo's lamp, of course, llg ) -- the Maltese cross, as gwenith mentioned earlier, which is featured in the pins of many nursing schools.

    "The ancestor of the nursing pin is the Maltese cross. Some significant historical contributors to the foundation of hospital standards involved in using the Maltese cross were the Knights Hospitaller and Order of Saint Lazarus, pioneers of communicable disease care, such as leprosy, syphilis, and other chronic skin diseases during their period, and established one of a few hospitals in the territories of their reign. As the Renaissance period progressed, the use of the symbol has evolved into family coat of arms, then given to those who were providers of exclusive services. Such pins were then awarded to nurses who were needed by society during periods of spread of uncontrolled illnesses during the early period, and to recognize them as nurses who are educated, trained and experienced in the said field."

    Nursing pin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    "The nursing pin is a 1,000-year old symbol of service to others. The earliest ancestor of the pin dates back to the Maltese Cross, adopted by crusaders and worn on their habits as a symbol of service to Christianity. Over the centuries, variations of the crusader's symbol were gradually modified and became family coats of arms, often symbolizing service to a ruler. By the Renaissance, guilds had adopted coats of arms symbolizing masterful service to the community. The most recent ancestor of the pin is the hospital badge of 100 years ago. It was given by the hospital school of nursing to the students to identify them as nurses who were educated to serve the health needs of society. This symbol of service involves many professional rights and responsibilities."

    Wiley InterScience :: Session Cookies

    My (grad) school's coat of arms features the Maltese cross (and the school pin is v. similar, but the only image I could find of it online is HUGE):



    Many other schools also feature the Maltese cross in their pins (these are just a few I found on a quick Google search):







    Last edit by elkpark on May 18, '10
  4. by   AZDevilDog
    From what little I can find it appears that the Bowl of Hygeia may in fact be the first depiction of a nursing symbol. Hygeia was Asclepius'(The God of Healing) daughter and later his assistant. She was considered the goddess of health and well being, as well as hygeine and sanitation(sound familiar?) and has been likened to the concept of modern nursing. However, The bowl of hygeia was taken and used as a symbol of pharmacology representing the use of medicine in the healing arts. There is some argument of who and what the bowl of hygeia truly represents but it has become an accepted and recognized symbol for Pharmacology due to their adoption and use of it.

    In one interpretation the Bowl of Hygeia represents the free will of the patient deciding to partake or not in the bowl of healing. another is that the bowl represents cleansing and the snake represents renewal as in the healing process. But like I mentioned Pharmacology has adopted it and used it to represent the use of medicine so any attempt to use it in reference to Nursing would be lost due to modern "brand" recognition.
  5. by   doneatlast
    my best friend and I just graduated nursing school together & passed boards the same day together. We were talking about getting a tattoo to remember this time in our lives. I really like this thread because we were considering either the Asian symbols or the Nightingale lamp with the date we became licensed RNs at the bottom of the lamp.

    Does anyone have any other great ideas and what about WHERE is the best place to put it? I was thinking small, inside my bicep. my friend is thinking the top of her foot. any other clever ideas?

    Thanks!
  6. by   DrZaphod
    This is all great information. I first posted this question in 2005 when I graduated as a RN! I'm a NP now, still looking for tattoos. Doneatlast - If you're a guy I'd put in the middle of your shoulder. I like forearm, too, but that will be visible and probably a bad idea. Another idea would be on your chest or directly inferior to your posterior neck, low enough to be hidden. Personally I've always made sure my tattoos are only visible to others if I have my shirt off. If you're a girl, how about directly behind your ear. My girlfriend has one there and I think it looks cool.
  7. by   RPN_2012
    Behind the ear is cool, but if we have to pull our hair back into a pony tail in clinical or at work, thetatoo become exposed...
    I would just stick to places that are covered at all times by my uniform, and that would not get exposed if I crouch/bend over, raise my arms, or pull my hair back... when I'll get a tattoo

close