Nurses Pay Respects in Special Way

When a fellow nurse passes, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital caregivers are there to offer a special tribute to one of their own.

She was known as an “encourager” – someone who was patient, helpful, kind, and intelligent. Pamela Wright was also known as a great nurse.

So when she passed on Oct. 5, 2018, her fellow nurses were there to pay tribute in a special way. Four nurses, dressed all in white, formed an Honor Guard somberly standing watch. Those nurses were Patty Williams, Jonna Grindle, Sherri White, and Brittany Dorton.

Wright, who earned a Master’s Degree of Science in Nursing at Ball State, started her career at IU Health Ball Memorial in 1984. Patients knew her for her tireless dedication to helping them cope with fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid arthritis. Wright also battled the autoimmune disease. 

Wright’s celebration of life was the first service for the founding members of the Delaware County Nursing Honor Guard. Members of the Nursing Honor attend services paying tribute to fellow nurses (including retired nurses) by “keeping watch” near the casket – similar to a military tribute.  Their involvement in services may also include reciting the “Nightingale Pledge,” and the “Nurse’s Prayer.” At some services they set a table with a white cap, white bible and a lighted Nightingale lamp. At the close of the service, the lamp is blown out, symbolizing the end of the nurse’s service to a beloved profession of caring for others. The candle is then presented to the family along with bookmarks that include the “Nightingale Pledge” and the “Nurse’s Prayer.” Since their first service, the Honor Guard has grown to 28 active members.

“Taking part in the Nursing Honor Guard is a great privilege,” said Brittany Dorton, the Nursing Professional Development Educator at IU Health Ball Memorial and a member of the Honor Guard.  “Being able to honor a deceased nurse is a blessing beyond words. I know what it takes to be a nurse and the dedication one has to their profession,” said Dorton.  “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor them and their commitment to their patients and to nursing. This also provides comfort to the family and letting them know how much they meant to their profession.”

— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email