Florence Nightingale Medal
|Florence Nightingale Medal|
|Type||International nursing decoration (both military and civilian).|
|Awarded for||"Exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or to civilian victims of a conflict or disaster" or "exemplary services or a creative and pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education".|
|Description||Gold and silver medallion with the inscription 'Ad memoriam Florence Nightingale 1820–1910' suspended from a red cross encircled by green laurel.|
|Presented by||Heads of State or Heads of Red Cross National Societies.|
|Total awarded posthumously||4|
The Florence Nightingale Medal is an international award presented to those distinguished in nursing and named after British nurse Florence Nightingale. The medal was established in 1912 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), following the Eighth International Conference of Red Cross Societies in London in 1907. It is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve and is awarded to nurses or nursing aides for "exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or to civilian victims of a conflict or disaster" or "exemplary services or a creative and pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education". The Florence Nightingale Medal Commission comprises several members and staff of the ICRC, several of whom are nursing professionals, and the head nurse of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. A representative of the International Council of Nurses also participates in the work of the commission.
The medal was initially set up to be awarded to six nurses annually, although the first 42 awards were only made in 1920 due to the disruption of the First World War. Among the first recipients were six American nurses: Florence Merriam Johnson, Helen Scott Hay, Linda K. Meirs, Martha M. Russell, Mary E. Gladwin, and Alma E. Foerster, and three German nurses including Elsbeth von Keudell. Ida F. Butler was the fifteenth American recipient of the award in 1937.
The medal was restricted to female nurses until regulation changes in 1991. Under the new regulations, it is open to both women and men and is awarded every two years to a maximum number of fifty recipients worldwide.
The vesica piscis-shaped medal is composed of gold and silver-gilt and bears a portrait of Florence Nightingale surrounded by the words "Ad memoriam Florence Nightingale 1820–1910". On the reverse, the name of the recipient and the date of the award is engraved, surrounded by the inscription "Pro vera misericordia et cara humanitate perennis décor universalis" ("true and loving humanitarianism – a lasting general propriety"). The medal is attached to a white and red ribbon by a clasp featuring a red enamel cross encircled by a green laurel crown. Recipients are also presented with a parchment diploma of the award and, from 1927, a miniature version of the medal that could be more easily worn. The medal and a diploma are usually presented by the head of state at a ceremony in their own country, which is required to have "a formal character, in keeping with the founders' wishes".
Sets of medals
In 2007, the 41st set of medals were awarded to 35 recipients from 18 countries.
In 2011, the 43rd set of medals were awarded to 39 recipients from 19 countries, including for the first time to two Kenyan nurses, as well as to the first recipient from the Central African Republic - Sylvie Ngouadakpa.
In 2015, the 45th set of medals were awarded to 36 recipients from 18 countries, including one posthumously to a Sierra Leonian nurse, Mr Morison Musa, who had worked in an Ebola treatment centre.
In 2017, the 46th set of medals were awarded to 39 recipients from 22 countries, including one to Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, the Acting Surgeon General of the United States. Roselyn Nugba-Ballah was the first ever Liberian recipient of the medal, due to her work in the Ebola epidemic.
In 2021, the 49th set of medals were awarded to 25 nurses from 18 countries, including two posthumously to: Bernadette Gleeson, an Australian nurse, and Arasta Bakhishova, an Azerbaijani nurse.
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