The Pelican Journal


journalThe Pelican Journal brings to you articles expanding on subjects of interest to the Pelican Nurses' League.  

Below find some examples of The history of the Pelican Badge, a feature article of 2018 Journal " Wars and Wanderlust " . 

In connection to the journal, please see the articles under the menu "Memories" for individual experiences and notes of interest.


The Editors welcome any articles you may wish to submit. For the 2023 edition the theme for your contributions is "what did my experience of training at the RIE teach me...good or bad"

Short or large entries welcome




The Pelican Badge

Through British, European and American history the pelican, an amazing bird, has been reproduced in many forms and on diverse materials. The emblem features worldwide, appearing on some flags, in various features of architecture, on glass windows, in jewellery and within heraldry.

The 2020 Pelican Journal

The  2020 Pelican Journal gives you an idea of what you are missing if you are not a member of the League!

Source:  The Pelican, Nurses' League Journal 2020. pages 28-31.

Christmas Washout

A meeting took place in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh on 24 July 1962; the remit was to establish a Regional Poisoning Treatment Centre in RIE in association with Regional Poisons Information Service. RIE joined a UK-wide system; identical information systems were also in place in Guy’s Hospital, London, and in Cardiff and in Belfast.

Ward 3 had originally been set apart for the management of patients with incidental delirium, and patients from other parts of the hospital (often surgical wards) who were unmanageable because of delirium or very disturbed behaviour. In an era of very few (almost no) male nurses, 3 had a male orderly on duty at all times to support nursing staff in giving what could be very difficult patient care.

The Regional Poisons Treatment Centre was established  in Ward  3  under  the auspices of Dr. Henry Matthew, who introduced the concept of general supportive therapy rather than using active therapy with unproven treatments. The Scottish Poisons Information Bureau was established and run from the ward; computerisation of the National Poisons Service was led by Dr. Proudfoot.

Outside normal working hours, calls were taken by the ward’s medical and nursing staff; often they also became involved during the day. Their responsibility was to read out, accurately for the caller, the specific information on a product, filed alphabetically in heavy, unwieldy Kalamazoo binders stored in a cupboard beside the specially designated (red) telephone.

In our day most patients were admitted to Ward 3 during the night, and because there were no general intensive care beds in the hospital, patients requiring intubation and ventilation remained in Ward 3. (Some readers may remember the gradual evolution of intensive care/therapy throughout the hospital through creation of small specialized units within appropriate areas such as the renal department, cardiology etc.) The clicking and wheezing sound of those old green Bird ventilators is unforgettable! Sometimes patients developed acute renal failure and haemodialysis was then usually performed. It could be very busy!

Feature Article 2018 Journal

Wars and Wanderlust


Many years ago, while working in London, an illustrious, senior member of our profession [whose actual identity I have long since forgotten] on learning that I am a Pelican exclaimed ‘I always knew that Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh nurses could be assigned anywhere and you always knew they would cope’.