Established in 1987, the Navy Nurse Corps Association (NNCA) is a national non-profit (501c-19) organization dedicated to bringing Navy Nurses together to honor those who served before us and preserve the legacy for those who will serve after us. With the assistance of the NNCA Chapters, we preserve for posterity the individual stories of Navy nurses by recording their oral histories and we create opportunities to connect with other members with newsletters, social media, and formal and informal gatherings. The NNCA also collects and archives Navy Nurse Corps memorabilia that is cataloged and maintained by History Associates, Inc. These artifacts and memorabilia can be accessed through the NNCA’s on-line virtual museum.
We value Navy nurses for the contributions and sacrifices they have made in the care of our service men and women and their families whether in peacetime or during times of conflict and war.
Known for caring and sharing, NNCA members participate in projects that honor other veterans; support scholarship initiatives to encourage future nursing clinicians and leaders; offer camaraderie and fellowship opportunities for Navy nurses; and recognize Navy nurses for excellence in leadership, nursing, and service.
We are an association that grows from the passion each of us feels for the Navy Nurse Corps. Each member is a living representative of a time when that person served in the Navy Nurse Corps, contributing to its rich history.
No matter the length of service or rank held, any active duty, reserve, retired, or former honorably discharged Navy Nurse Corps Officer may join the NNCA.
When the NNCA was established in 1987, the organization adopted a version of the original Navy Nurse Corps insignia as its logo. Steeped in tradition, the logo represents the history of the Navy Nurse Corps. We do not use the current Navy Nurse Corps insignia, as it is a uniform item that is worn by active duty and reserve Navy nurses today.
The Navy Nurse Corps insignia (1918-1947) was worn on the corner of each collar of the ward white uniform. Therefore, there was a right and left device, the stem facing inward on both collar. There have been comments that the NNCA’s logo (using this insignia) is ‘incorrect’ because the stems faces away from the heart. At the time the design was chosen, we were not aware that there had been a ‘right’ and ‘left’ device and chose a pin randomly to be copied. It seems that we are using the device that goes on the right collar as our logo.
The current Navy Nurse insignia is worn on the left collar and the rank device is worn on the right.
Nurse Corps Insignia (1954 - Present)
After 1947, the Navy Nurse Corps adopted the acorn-less oak leaf representing nurses foundational role in Navy Medicine. The oak leaf and oak tree are symbolic of strength and longevity. The Navy and Navy Medicine have long used the oak leaf as a motif. Sprays of live oak have adorned uniforms of both Navy line and staff officers as early as the 1820s.
Nurse Corps Insignia (1947-1954)
The spread oak leaf became the basic device for all corps. A leaf with no acorn became the Nurse Corps device.
Nurse Corps Insignia (1942-1947)
Further reduced to 3/4 inches and the letters “NNC” were removed in 1944. The insignia was worn on the left collar and rank on the right.
Nurse Corps Insignia (1923 - 1942)
Same as the 1918 pin and reduced to 1 1/16 x 7/8 inches. Two pins are worn, one on each collar.
Nurse Corps Insignia (1922 - 1928)
1 1/2 x 7/8 inches fouled anchor with an oak leaf and acorn. Nurse Corps is superimposed on the acorn and leaf. Two pins are worn, one on each collar.
Nurse Corps Insignia (1908/1913 - 1918)
7/8-inch round, blue background device edged with oak leaves. Fouled anchor with a red, white, and blue shield in the center and U.S.N. below the anchor.
Are you interested in learning more about the history of the Navy Nurse Corps Devices?
Doris Sterner’s book In and Out of Harm’s Way captures the history of the Navy Nurse Corps and provides the progression of uniforms and devices. There are also pictures available in our Virtual Museum on the NNCA Members site. The plaque pictured in this article is currently maintained in our memorabilia collection in the Virtual Museum (catalog number 1994-038/068). Our newsletters also contain valuable historical information and volumes 1 through 34 are cataloged on the Members site under the Publications section.