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Nursing Honor Guard Recognizes a Career in Service, Selflessness

Writer / Julie Yates
Photography Provided

The month of May is nationally designated to honor the noble profession of nursing. Truly a calling, a career in nursing represents long hours, selfless service and hard work. The Nursing Honor Guard (NHG) serving Central Indiana is based in Howard County, but it is part of a nation-wide organization that promotes and supports nurses from their student days to honoring them at the end of their lives.nursing

NHG began in Kansas in 2002 to commemorate nurses after their passing. The organization performs the Nightingale Tribute at funerals or memorial service. The ceremony is akin to a military tribute and is a symbolic way to release the fallen nurse from a live of service.

During the service, members of NHG are dressed in traditional white uniforms and hold a silent vigil by the casket. Nearby, a display table is set with a Nightingale lamp, nurses cap and a white bible. The Nightingale Pledge and last role call is read. The family is presented with the lamp and the Nurse’s Prayer is recited.

Peggy Faulkner, BSN, RN, recognized the comfort and impact the NHG provides to family and friends when she witnessed it first-hand. She had some knowledge of the organization, but after attending the funeral of a Community Howard nurse and seeing the Anderson NGH perform the moving ceremony, she was realized that Howard County needed a local chapter.

In early 2015, Faulkner organized the Nursing Honor Guard Serving North Central Indiana and continues to serve as coordinator. Today it has over a hundred members including twenty individuals who make themselves available to participate in Nightingale Tributes at services. The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 2 p.m. at Cross America, Inc. in Kokomo. A Facebook page is maintained to alert the community of upcoming new member orientations and to share the organization’s activities.

Besides being a presence in Howard County, NHG of North Central Indiana is active in other ways. They have attended services in and out of state when a community does not have a local chapter. In addition, they have helped start new chapters. Activities of NHG groups from across the United States are highlighted on their Facebook page. Another important facet is the support they give to individuals newly entering the field of nursing.

“Our team has been involved in welcoming new nurses into the nursing profession for the past few years,” Faulkner says. “We wear our white uniforms, caps and capes to the Indiana University Kokomo (IUK) Nursing Recognition Ceremony. I personally had the opportunity to repeat one of my dear mother’s favorite sayings ‘nursing is a wonderful profession’ as I greeted each new graduate nurse!”

Contributions to cover the cost of keepsakes given to families, plus cards and brochures, can be sent to the NHG in care of the Community Howard Regional Health Foundation, 3548 South Lafountain Street, Kokomo, Indiana 46902.

To contact the Nursing Honor Guard Serving North Central Indiana, call 765-453-1634 and leave a message.nursing


A Nurse’s Prayer

Give me strength and wisdom when others need my touch;
a soothing word to speak to them,
their hearts yearn for so much.

Give me joy and laughter,
to lift a weary soul;
pour in me compassion,
to make the broken whole.

Give me gentle, healing hands,
for those left in
my care;
a blessing to those who need me,
this is a nurse’s prayer.

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