Daviess Community Hospital Nurses Provide Honor Guard

January 4, 2018 (Washington, IN) – A beloved, longtime nurse became the latest to receive a special tribute from a new group at Daviess Community Hospital.

Linda Troutman, who worked at the hospital for 43 years as a nurse, passed away on November 30th at age 74. At her funeral a few days later in Montgomery, nurses from the DCH honor guard paid tribute to Troutman’s career with a nurse detail and short ceremony that incorporates the legacy of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

A nursing honor guard dressed in surgery scrubs, the uniform of Troutman’s department, or the classic white nursing uniform, rotated every 30 minutes in standing guard next to Troutman’s casket at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. During the funeral visitation, the honor guard recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge, a statement of the profession’s principles and ethics that nurses recite after completing their training.

The guard also lit a symbolic Nightingale lamp, and called Troutman to duty for the final time.

“Linda Troutman, report for duty,” the honor guard said, followed by a pause.

“Linda Troutman, report for duty,” the honor guard repeated twice more.

“Linda Troutman, you’re hereby relieved of your earthly duties,” the honor guard concluded.

The lamp was extinguished and presented to Troutman’s family.

“Efforts to create a nurses honor guard at Daviess Community Hospital started a few years ago”, said Tina Durnil RN, co-organizer of the honor guard at Troutman’s funeral. “Linda’s family came to us asking if we would participate in her service and we were honored to do so. We agreed that it would be a perfect tribute to a woman who had dedicated her life to nursing.”

Incorporating the Florence Nightingale lamp and the final call to duty made for an emotional moment, and reciting the pledge served as an important reminder about why nurses do what they do.

Performing the tribute ceremony has DCH nurses focused on completing the task of formalizing the hospital’s honor guard. “It’s really lit a fire for us to get our guard off the ground,” said Cathy Ochs RN, co-organizer. The nurses have the support of the hospital to create a formal committee.

Recruiting and training nurses, and informing area funeral homes about the honor guard’s availability are on the committee’s to-do list. Ochs and Durnil said their hope is that DCH’s honor guard will be able to serve whenever asked by family members. Members of the Honor Guard consider it a privilege to participate in the services of their fellow nurses.

Nursing is a profession immersed in tradition. They use these traditions as symbols, which reflect honor and respect for those who have given so much and who have served so well. Any of the following traditions may 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. The Honor Guard may be requested to attend the visitation and/or funeral services to serve as honorary pallbearers. The Nightingale Pledge and a nursing sonnet may be read at any time during the services.

The Final Call to Duty may be performed during the services or at the grave-site. During the Final Call to Duty, the Nightingale Lamp is lit in the nurse's honor, and the nurse's name is called out with a request to report to duty. With no response, the nurse's name is repeated twice more with the same request. After the third and final call, the nurse is announced as being relieved of her earthly duties and the lamp's flame is extinguished. This is the final call for those who have served selflessly and given their lives for the good of their fellow man; their tasks are complete, their duties are done, they are going home.

The Honor Guard may be positioned at the head of the casket, standing silently to give their last respects. The Honor Guard will be exchanged at predetermined times during the visitation. Members of the Nursing Honor Guard consider it a privilege to participate in the memorial services of their fellow nurses. Who better deserves a final farewell than nurses who have dedicated their lives to caring for others in times of need? Nursing is a profession steeped in tradition. We use these traditions as symbols for those who have given so much and who have served so well.

Services of the Nursing Honor Guard are available at the family's request for any active or retired registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. For more information, please call 812-254-2760.

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