Nursing Honor Guard
The UnityPoint Health Nursing Honor Guard recognizes individuals who have dedicated their lives to the profession of nursing. Who better deserves a final farewell than those who chose to spend their lives caring for others when they needed it most?
Nursing is a profession steeped in tradition. We use these traditions as symbols, which reflect honor and respect for those who gave so much and served others so well. Any of the traditions listed below can be requested for a funeral service or visitation.
- Services of the Honor Guard are available at the family's request for any active or retired registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
- Services are available within a 50-mile radius of participating* UnityPoint Health locations.
- Members of the Honor Guard will attend all services wearing the traditional white uniforms, nursing caps and blue capes.
*Not all UnityPoint Health locations have a Nursing Honor Guard.
The Honor Guard may be requested to attend the visitation and/or funeral services to serve as honorary pallbearers.
The Nightingale Pledge
The Nightingale Pledge and a nursing sonnet may be read at any time during the services.
The Nightingale Prayer
Originally written for "An International Tribute to Florence Nightingale at Scutari," the "Nightingale Prayer" is often recited to honor all who dedicated their lives to Florence Nightingale's noble and compassionate vision of nursing. The "Nightingale Prayer" may be read at any time during the service.
"She Was There"
A poem written to memorialize a beloved nurse, "She Was There," reflects the joys, sorrows, triumphs and struggles of nursing. It, too, can be read at any time during the service.
Final Call to Duty
The Final Call to Duty may be performed during the services or at the gravesite. During the Final Call to Duty, the Nightingale Lamp is lit in the nurse's honor, and their name and license number are called out with a request to report to duty. With no response, the nurse's name and license number are repeated twice more with the same request. After the third and final call, the nurse's license number is announced as being retired and the lamp's flame is extinguished.
This is the final call for those who have served selflessly and given their life for the good of their fellow humans. Their tasks are complete. Their duties are done. They are going home.
Casket Honor Guard
The Honor Guard may be positioned at the head of the casket, standing silently to give their last respects. The Honor Guard is exchanged at predetermined times during the visitation, and the Nightingale Lamp is passed with each replacement.
Request Nursing Honor Guard Services
- Cedar Rapids - To request the presence of the UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids Nursing Honor Guard, please call (319) 369-7215.
- Des Moines - To request the presence of the UnityPoint Health – Des Moines Nursing Honor Guard, please call (515) 241-5575.
- Fort Dodge - To request the presence of the UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge Trinity Nursing Honor Guard, please call (515) 574-6608 or (515) 573-3101.
- Quad Cities - To request the presence of the UnityPoint Health – Quad Cities Trinity Nursing Honor Guard, please call (309) 779-5000.
- Waterloo - To request the presence of the UnityPoint Health – Waterloo Nursing Honor Guard, please call (319) 235-3692.