• Janez Fischinger
  • Duša Fischinger
  • Aleš Fischinger
Keywords: graduation badges/pins, history of nursing and midwifery, nursing and midwifery educational institutions, 20th century, Slovenia


Introduction: Many nursing and midwifery schools in many countries around the world awarded or still award graduation badges or pins to their graduates. All graduates from different parts of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia and later the Republic of Yugoslavia educated in Slovenian healthcare schools received badges from these schools. Some of the graduates later employed in medical institutions across former Yugoslavia wore these badges on their uniforms. The main purpose of this historical research was to establish which Slovenian health care schools awarded the graduation badges and what they looked like. It was also investigated why the badges ceased to be awarded and what motivated Angela Boškin Faculty of Health Care in Jesenice to reintroduce awarding the badges.

Due to a lack of written sources, we conducted 393 face to face and telephonic interviews with former badge recipients across Slovenia. Their existing badges were photographed. On the authors’ initiative, a private collection of badges was started.

Results: It has been established that in the 20th century all Slovenian secondary health schools awarded badges. The Nursing College, Ljubljana also awarded graduation badges. Five different types of badges in many variants were issued. The first badges were awarded to graduates by Slovenian oldest Nursing School, Ljubljana in 1925. The badges ceased to be awarded in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Some questions about probable reasons for cessation of awarding badges remain unanswered. Less than a fifth of interviewees kept their badges. Graduating nursing badges were reintroduced in Slovenia in 2017 with a new badge which is presented and depicted in this article. The motivation for the reintroduction of graduating badges is also investigated.

Discussion and conclusion: Unfortunately, many Slovenian nurses and midwives are not sufficiently aware of the meaning and importance of their badges. Although badges are
important for professional image and identity of nurses, badges as a symbol of nursing have become almost completely forgotten. Graduation badges are miniature works of art and are proof of the existence and development of Slovenian healthcare schools. Nursing badges present a part of nursing history as well as being our cultural heritage. The badges deserve to be written and talked about and should be displayed in a planned future Slovenian Health Care Museum.