Prestigious Nightingale Badge awarded to Australia’s oldest hospital

Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital’s (SSEH) Lucy Osburn Nightingale Museum has been presented with the prestigious Nightingale Badge, in recognition of Lucy Osburn’s legacy as a pioneer of Australian nursing. 

The Badge was presented last week by the Nightingale Fellowship of London, an alumni organisation founded in 1928, in celebration of all Nightingale-trained nurses in Australia. 

Until 1996, nurses who completed their training at the Florence Nightingale Training School in London were awarded the Nightingale Badge. In the past few decades, the Badge has become a worldwide symbol of nursing excellence, awarded to individuals and institutions that have made an exceptional contribution to the nursing profession.

SSEH Director of Nursing and Support Services, Natalie Maier said it was a proud day for the hospital. 

“We feel extremely privileged to have been recognised by our international colleagues, in acknowledgement of the significant history of nursing, first championed here by Lucy Osburn over 100 years ago; and which continues on to this day,” said Natalie. 

“I thank the museum for preserving the legacy of Lucy Osburn, who very early on set the standard for nursing in Australia. At SSEH, this high standard lives on as our nurses continue to provide world-class patient care.” 

The Museum, located in the historic Nightingale Wing on Macquarie Street, commemorates two very important women in the history of nursing; social reformer and founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, and Lucy Osburn, an English nurse who in 1897, was sent by Nightingale at the request of the colonial government to Sydney, to establish the first Nightingale Training school in Australia. 

President of the Nightingale Fellowship of London Christine Taylor said she was delighted to recognise Lucy Osburn’s pioneering work. 

“We are extremely proud and delighted to present this framed badge in recognition of Ms Osburn’s pioneering work in establishing a Nightingale Training School at Sydney Hospital; and in recognition of all those nurses who have trained there and (UK) Nightingales who have come to Australia to work,” said Christine. 

Minister for Health and Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park and NSW Health Secretary Susan Pearce AM attended the ceremony, where a keynote address was given by Professor Jill White, Professor Emerita of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Sydney and the Faculty of Health at the University of Technology, Sydney. 

Kate Hackett, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Director of Nursing and Midwifery said, “This event was thought-provoking and led to reflection on the trail-blazing nurses of generations ago, set against the remarkable changes that have occurred since then. Contemporary nursing is an entirely different profession, with people working in cutting edge roles and influencing excellence and innovation in healthcare delivery across the breadth of complex systems."

The Lucy Osburn Nightingale Museum is home to a unique collection of medical equipment, records, implements and pathology that portrays the history of nursing and medicine in Australia since the arrival of the first fleet in 1788. 

Nightingale Badge awarded