5/23/18

Nurse Honor Guard gains popularity as families pause to remember

One of the best ways to memorialize fallen soldiers is to bring fellow soldiers to their end-of-life service. There, they are able to carry out military rituals and pay their respects to those who lost their lives.

Nurses are now able to honor their own at their time of death through the Nurse Honor Guard.

The Nurse Honor Guard recognizes the accomplishments of nurses during their funeral services. The guard can participate in the service however the family chooses. They can provide several meaningful services such as acting as honorary pallbearers, reading the Nightingale Tribute and performing the Final Call to Duty. 

Some Carle nurses are now part of a collaborative, countywide guard, and it continues to gain popularity in the community.

Carol Schank, RN, is happy to help coordinate its services.

“The Nurse Honor Guard has recently assisted at five nurses’ funeral services in a four-week period. As more and more people learn about this innovative offering to our community, the requests increase,” Schank said. “The families we’ve served have been very appreciative that we honor their loved one’s service in nursing.”

Champaign resident Jane Hays has first-hand experience with the work of the guard. Her mother, Mary Hays, worked as an operating room nurse at Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

“We used the Nurse Honor Guard at my mom’s service in February,” Hays said. “It was the perfect thing for her because she was incredibly proud of being a nurse.”

The Hays family especially enjoyed the Florence Nightingale lamp, a symbol of nurses’ devotion and kindness.

“Our whole family thought the guard’s contribution was lovely,” Hays said. “They were so kind. We appreciated them doing this on their own time to honor my mom, even though they never personally knew her.”

The group offers its services to any nurses in the area who have passed, no matter how long or where they worked.

“We’re so passionate about this because we want to recognize the family’s loved one in the best way we can,” Schank said. “We want to show how appreciative we are of their service and honor their legacy.”

Hays calls the guard’s contribution special and personal.

“I think Mom would have loved it,” she said.

To arrange for a tribute, please call (217) 383-3600.