About the Nightingale Tribute

The Nightingale Tribute was designed and developed by the Kansas State Nurses Association in 2003 to be used to honor deceased nurses. Any part or all of the Nightingale Tribute may be used, and modifications to the reading and script are encouraged.
Format for the Nightingale Tribute

The Nightingale Tribute begins with a short synopsis of the nurse's career. A creative reading follows the synopsis. A white rose is placed with the nurse after the reading, with the statement, "(Name), we honor you this day and give you a white rose to symbolize our honor and appreciation for being our nursing colleague."

This entire tribute takes only two minutes and can be placed anywhere in the service appropriate to the traditions and beliefs of the recipient's faith.

How do I arrange for this tribute for my loved one?

  • Visit with your funeral home director about this tribute.
  • Choose an RN friend or colleague (active or retired) of the deceased to present the tribute.
  • Ask the nurse to visit with you. Provide them a brief synopsis of your loved one's life as a nurse.
  • Use the words included below, or from this brochure, as a creative reading to follow the career synopsis. Adapt the reading to fit the recipient.
  • Schedule the Tribute in the service in collaboration with the family, funeral home and place of worship as appropriate.
  • Decide if you would like a white rose placed with your loved one in tribute and honor. If so, notify the nurse presenter and any other nurse friends to bring a white rose.

The Nightingale Tribute Reading

Nursing is a calling, a lifestyle, a way of living. Nurses here today honor _______________ and his/her life as a nurse. _______________ is not remembered by his/her _____ years as a nurse, but by the difference he/she made during those years by stepping into people's lives... by special moments:

She Was There

When a calming, quiet presence was all that was needed,
She was there.

In the excitement and miracle of birth or in the mystery and loss of life,
She was there.

When a silent glance could uplift a patient, family member or friend,
She was there.

At those times when the unexplainable needed to be explained,
She was there.

When the situation demanded a swift foot and sharp mind,
She was there.

When a gentle touch, a firm push, or an encouraging word was needed,
She was there.

In choosing the best one from a family's "Thank You" box of chocolates,
She was there.

To witness humanity - its beauty, in good times and bad, without judgment,
She was there.

To embrace the woes of the world, willingly, and offer hope,
She was there.

And now, that it is time to be at the Greater One's side,
She is there.

Note: Pronoun can be changed

© 2004 by Duane Jaeger, RN, MSN

_______________, we honor you this day and give you a white rose to symbolize our honor and appreciation for being our colleague.

Nursing is a calling, a way of life. Nursing is a service profession that cannot be lived in isolation. Nurses rely on each other for the synergistic effect of teamwork in our efforts of care giving. It is appropriate that we honor our colleagues not only during their career, but also at the end of life's journey.


"She Was There" is copyrighted by Duane Jaeger, RN, MSN as published in this brochure. Individuals using this poem as part of a memorial service are permitted to change the pronoun to make it gender appropriate.

Click here to download "She Was There" in PDF format.

Hartford Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae