The Nursing Honor Guard for RNs and LPNs

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Finding out that there is a nursing honor guard was a surprise to me and my wife (a retired USAF nurse who spent 11 years as a civilian nurse), but a pleasant surprise.

Paris (IL) – Paris Community Hospital/Family Medical Center has implemented a new program that recognizes and pays homage to men and women who have committed their lives to nursing.

The PCH/FMC Nursing Honor Guard pays tribute to local registered nurses and licensed practical nurses upon their death. The tribute is modeled after a program established at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind.

“People choose nursing as a career because they want to help people and make a difference in someone’s life,” Rachel Massey, RN, BSN, staff development/compliance specialist at PCH/FMC said in a press release.

“The Nursing Honor Guard is an opportunity to show appreciation to our fellow nurses. These compassionate individuals have dedicated their lives to caring for the sick at the most vulnerable points in their lives.”

The Honor Guard’s special recognition is performed in several ways using the “Nightingale Tribute,” which was developed in 2003 by the Kansas State Nurses Association to honor deceased nurses. The tribute gets its name from Florence Nightingale, who was the founder of modern nursing. Read More of the article here.

Nurses are Special People
From To honor their special calling, the Kansas State Nurses Association has created a touching tribute that remembers nurses’ selfless commitment at the end of their life’s journey.

The Nightingale Tribute is a two-minute ceremony that is performed by a nurse colleague during the deceased nurse’s funeral service. The tribute offers fellow nurses an opportunity to commemorate and recognize their colleague’s work while recognizing that nurse’s unique contribution and dedication to saving lives.

The tribute begins with a look back at the nurse’s career followed by the reading of the poem, “She Was There,” by Duane Jaeger, RN, MSN. The poem is a moving recollection of the extraordinary compassion and dedication it takes to be a nurse. After the reading, nurses in attendance place white roses with the deceased nurse saying, “We honor you on this day and give you a white rose to symbolize our honor and appreciation for being our nursing colleague.”

The tribute honors deceased registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Its format can be adapted to personalize the ceremony and can be added anywhere in the funeral service that is appropriate to the beliefs and traditions of the deceased nurse’s faith. The Kansas State Nurses Association has created a brochure that details the full service, including a checklist on how to arrange the tribute. A printable copy is available on their website [which does not exist anymore- DrillMaster].

Nightingale Tribute
In memory of nursing colleagues that have passed away, the American Nurses Association and the Iowa Nurses Association have adopted this tribute to be used in memorial services. A white candle is lighted and a white rose is given to the family in memory of the life in service as a nurse. The Iowa Nurses Association will be working with the Iowa Funeral Director’s Association to promote this special remembrance. Read more and get downloads here.

| Nightingale Tribute PDF | Information at |

She Was There

When a calming, quiet presence was all that was needed,
She was there.

In the excitement and miracle of birth or in the mystery and loss of life,
She was there.

When a silent glance could uplift a patient, family member or friend,
She was there.

At those times when the unexplainable needed to be explained,
She was there.

When the situation demanded a swift foot and sharp mind,
She was there.

When a gentle touch, a firm push, or an encouraging word was needed,
She was there.

In choosing the best one from a family’s “Thank You” box of chocolates,
She was there.

To witness humanity – its beauty, in good times and bad, without judgment,
She was there.

To embrace the woes of the world, willingly, and offer hope,
She was there.

And now, that it is time to be at the Greater One’s side,
She is there.

© 2004 by Duane Jaeger, RN, MSN

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