International Nurses Day 2024: First Nurses Guard of Honor Service to be launched in Uganda 

By Brian Nambale

The commemoration of the Day of the Nurse commonly known as International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated every 12th May to mark the Birthday of Florence Nightingale the founder of the modern-day nursing profession. This year’s theme is: “The Economic Power of care”.

This day in relationship to the theme often nursing care is often affected by financial constraints and societal undervaluation.IND 2024 aims to reshape perceptions, demonstrating how strategic investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits.

For Uganda, the day has found us in a National Population Census Week 10th – 19th  May 2024  and yet the Nurses week also starts from 6th – 12th  May every year. It will be good news for Ugandan Nurses for the  First Nurses Guard of Honor Service to be launched. This will be done at the Medicure Trauma Centre- Nabumali (Nursing& Midwifery Council Supervised General Clinic) located in Mbale District  Eastern Uganda.

What you need to know about the Nurses Guard of Honor.

Just like military give honor to their fallen colleagues through salutes and shootings, the Nurses Guard of Honor means to “Honor Thy Nurse” by establishing honor Guard for nurses this is done as a Final call of Duty.

The Nursing Honor Guard recognizes and pays homage to men & women who have dedicated their professional lives to nursing. The nursing Honor Guard has been established to honor these individuals upon their death. The Honour Guard’s presence helps to shine a light on a nurses’ dedication to their chosen profession and helps ease mourners’ grief during their time of loss. The nurses who are members of the Honor Guard consider it both an honor and a privilege to participate in Final services for their fellow nurses.

Its purpose is to recognize men and women who have dedicated their professional lives to nursing and to pay respect to fellow nurses, (retired or active Specialist Nurses., Registered Nurses or Enrolled Nurses) at the end of life’s journey, for the devotion and commitment they demonstrated in caring for the vulnerable.

Services to be offered can be individualized based on the wishes of the deceased or family. They may include “A Nurse’s Prayer”,  “The Nightingale Tribute”, (developed by the Kansas State Nurses Association), “She Was There” by Duane Jaeger, RN, MSN, and a Final Call to Duty.  During these readings, a porcelain Nightingale lamp with a white candle is lit in the nurses’ honor.

When the nurse doesn’t respond to a third and final call, they are relieved of their earthly duties, and asked to rest in peace.  The candle is extinguished, and the lamp is presented to the family along with roses to signify the nurse’s devotion to his or her profession. We hope to move toward requesting, when available, honor guard members who are reciting the tributes and final call, wear a white uniform and cap, along with a vintage (or replicated) nurses’ cape.

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Services Provided by the Nursing Honor Guard 

Nursing is a profession steeped in a tradition; we use these traditions as symbols, which reflect honor and respect for those who have given so much and who have served so well.

Honor Guard services can be individualized according to the wishes of the deceased of family and based on the availability of volunteers. These may include;

  • The Uganda nurses & Midwives Anthem
  • The Nightingale Tribute Developed by the Kansas State Nurses Association
  • She was there by Daune Jaeger, RN, MSN
  • Final call to Duty
  • Casket or Entry way Honor Guard

Services may be held at varying sites such as;

  1. Funeral Home
  2. Church or House of Worship 
  3. Cementary
  4. Private Home
  5. Other Venue

How the service will be accessed 

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Visit your funeral home director about the Honor Guard; Schedule a tribute into the service in collaboration with the family, funeral home / and place of worship. You may wish to honour a fallen nurse in memory of his /her services during family services through donations and memorial services

Write an Email to nambaalebrian2@gmail.com or medicuretraumacentre@outlook.com or call +256-752044760

Eligibility for the service

Any Registered Nurse, Enrolled Nurse , Advanced Nurse Practice like Hospice & Palliative Care Nurses, Nurse Tutors, Nurse Anesthetists, Research Nurses etc working both in Public and Private Practice. These services are provided based on the availability of Volunteers. Nursing colleagues of the deceased are welcome to participate.

Let a nurse be honored, To love & Serve the Nation .For God and my country

About the Author; Brian Nambale is an RCN & Clinical Case Manager at Medicure Trauma Centre-Nabumali, Medical Student (MUK),LCV Councilor Mbale District, Chairperson Committees of the Health, Education & Community Based Services and an Independent Medical Writer.

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