The traditions of the nursing pin and ceremonial pinning that we know today actually 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, Nightingale 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 pin was presented to the graduating class of 1880 at the Bellevue Hospital of Nursing in New York City. (Author unknown)