A MANAGER at the Great Western Hospital is trying to reunite around 70 prestigious nursing badges with their owners.
Claire Barker, training and development manager in the Academy at GWH, who qualified as a nurse herself back in 1990, discovered the badges in 2009. She has been trying to return them to the nurses whose names are engraved on the reverse of the badges ever since.
The small silver pin badges, which date back as far as the mid 1970s up to the early 1990s, would have been presented to nurses when they graduated.
They contain the school, college or hospital where the nurse trained, the nurse’s initial and surname and the year they graduated.
Claire said: “Nurses wore these badges with so much pride. It was such an honour to receive one, and if you lost it, you wouldn’t be able to get another one.
“A very senior person would present them to you. Even if you were still in your student uniform, it was a huge deal to get one of these badges, it was great.
“To have gone through all that training and not have a badge is really quite sad.”
During her three-year campaign to reunite the badges with the nurses, Claire has even contacted the Nursing and Midwifery Council in London but has had no luck.
She said: “This has been a three-year labour of love for me. I feel really passionate about it.
“The difficult thing is that a lot of the badges date back to the 70s and traditionally those going through their training were single girls, so the names on the badges are likely to be maiden names.
“I contacted the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the hope that it might have maiden names and married names but they couldn’t help. “They offered to put them in storage for me, but I didn’t think that was the right thing to do.
“I don’t want them in storage, I want them given to the nurses that trained for them.
“Even after all these years I am sure these nurses would be thrilled to be reunited with the badges because they mean so much.
“It’s not as if they have ever been given out and given back, because they are in their original boxes, so it could be that these people missed their graduation.”
If Claire can reunite anyone with their badge, the GWH would like to invite them along to their 10th anniversary celebrations on December 3 so they can be officially presented with it.
Contact Claire on 01793 604438 or email claire.barker@gwh. nhs.uk.