The Pelican Awards Registered Nurses (Adult)peter pelican

What is ‘The Pelican’?  The ‘Pelican’ was the name given to the badge, first introduced in 1917, which was awarded to nurses who had successfully completed their nurse education and training at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh School of Nursing, followed immediately by one year as a Staff Nurse in the Infirmary.  Over the years, holders of the badge became known, worldwide, as ‘Pelicans’.

The Pelican is an ancient symbol of charity and sacrifice, and is shown on the badge as sitting on its nest, plucking its breast to feed its young with its own blood, symbolising the nurse’s dedication to the service of others.  The same Pelican symbol was depicted on the floor of the ‘black and white’ corridor at the entrance to the old Royal Infirmary in Lauriston Place, as part of the coat of arms of the Infirmary, first officially granted in 1914, although it had been used for many years before that.  The crest of the Pelican is surrounded by the Latin words ‘Ad sanitatum gentium patet omnibus’ i.e. ‘for the health of the people, it is open to all’ which is the motto of the Royal Infirmary.

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Nurses’ League was formed in 1936 (now The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Pelican Nurses’ League) and still exists today.  The members of the League are nurses who were awarded the Pelican badge.  It is from the League funds that the above award will be made.  (Acknowledging with thanks information and photograph (1972) from Lothian Health Services Archive, The University of Edinburgh.)

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Pelican Nurses' League Pelican Award

For Registered Nurses (Adult)

Overall aim of the Award for Registered Nurses (Adult):  The overall aim of the Pelican Award is to provide the opportunity to study patient care and contribute to improving care.  The award will provide some financial assistance to allow the nurse applicant to study an aspect of patient care, or alternatively to use the money for professional development which will contribute to enhancing patient care.

Eligibility:  Registered Nurses (Adult), who have gained their nursing education and qualification from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh School of Nursing, South Lothian College of Nursing, Lothian College of Nursing, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University or Queen Margaret University, and whose registration with the NMC is current.  The applicant must be employed within NHS Lothian.

Funding available:  The overall budget for the Pelican Awards is decided upon each year and funding in partial support of selected projects will be available annually.

Types of Projects:  Given the overall aim of the Award, which is to focus on benefits to patient care, the following types of project will be considered.

  1. The identification of ‘best practice’ in a given aspect of nursing care.  The applicant would be expected to describe the practice in detail, examine the circumstances in which it has been achieved, and discuss how that practice might be implemented and evaluated in her/his own practice area.
  2. Practice development – a variant of (1) above, i.e. identification of a change which the applicant has identified as potentially beneficial to patient care in her/his own practice area, the introduction of that change and a description of how the outcome of the change will be evaluated.
  3. Conference attendance, provided the conference focus is relevant to the nurse’s current field of practice.  This would enhance knowledge, feed back into improved patient care, and also facilitate networking with nurses working in a similar practice area.

Applications:  Prior to submission, discussion should take place with your line manager in relation to the project and any proposed study leave.  Applications will be considered by members of the League's Executive Committee Interviewing (Selection) Panel. 

Guidance on how to apply--Information that should be supplied includes:

  1. Applicant’s name, date of qualification, Registration number with NMC, current post and location;
  2. Applicant’s CV, or description of nursing experience since qualification;
  3. A 500 word outline of the proposed project, which must include details of the expected benefits to patient care, and how it is hoped these will be achieved, whether directly or indirectly, together with a statement as to when and where the proposed project will take place, and over what period of time;
  4. Budget details – i.e. what amount of funding is requested, and how that funding will be used during the course of the proposed project;
  5. Contact address/telephone number/email address to which the Interviewing (Selection) Panel’s response should be sent.

On Completion of the Project: A final report of 500 – 750 words maximum will be required and may be published in The Pelican Nurses’ League Journal.  This must be submitted within three months of the completion of the project/conference attendance.      

Please submit your completed Application Form to:

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Download Application Form-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Up-dated 2021