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North Shore Nurse Honor Guard Founded

In 2003, the Kansas State Nurses Associ­ation formed a Nurse Honor Guard to hon­or nurses who had passed away. In 2021, a Twin Ports Nurs­es Honor Guard was founded, and in 2023 the Virginia/Hibbing Nurse Honor Guard was formed. In 2024, there will be a Nurse Honor Guard for the North Shore.

Nurses Rennae Houle-Burns and Louise Anderson are the leaders of the North Shore Nurse Honor Guard. Houle-Burns learned of the Twin Ports branch in 2021, and became one of their volun­teers. Anderson was first introduced to the Nurses Honor Guard by a colleague. At that funeral, she saw the Nightingale Trib­ute for the first time, and was “extremely moved by the cere­mony.” Houle-Burns shared with Anderson her desire to bring the honor guard to the North Shore, and “when the timing was right”, she reached out to Anderson to see “if she would be willing to help her bring this offering to the nurs­es and their families on the North Shore.” Anderson agreed, and she and Houle-Burns’ work began.

“We have been in contact with our lo­cal funeral homes and met with the Two Harbors Ministerial Association. We also had two informational meetings for nurses in both Two Harbors and Silver Bay,” Houle-Burns and Anderson shared. “We currently have 22 nurses who have volunteered to be part of our North Shore Nurse Honor Guard.” At the infor­mational meetings, the Nightingale Trib­ute was performed to illustrate the brief ceremony that will be provided “at a nurse’s end of life service [or] celebration, so those in attendance would get a better under­standing of what the ceremony entails.”

The Nightingale Tribute is only per­formed at the request of the nurse’s family, and held when and where the family and minister prefer in the course of the service. The tribute is free of charge to the family. “We do accept dona­tions to help defray the costs of printing and supplies for the Nightingale Tribute if there is anyone who is interested in contrib­uting,” Houle-Burns and Anderson added. The program is per­sonalized for each nurse. The goal is to have the North Shore Nurse Honor Guard “up and running” by May 12, 2024, to hon­or Florence Nightin­gale, the founder of nursing’s, birthday. “I am very happy to re­port that we are right on track for this goal,” Houle-Burns said.

Rennae Houle-Burns has been a reg­istered nurse for 39 years. She has worked in cardiac care, car­diac or thoracic trans­plantation, surgical intensive care, peri-an­esthesia nursing, qual­ity or certified infection preventionist, and she has managed a level one trauma, burn, and stroke, and medical intensive care units at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center. Houle-Burns currently works as the Director of Nursing at the Minnesota De­partment of Veterans’ Affairs – Silver Bay Veterans’ Home.

Louise Anderson has been a registered nurse for 44 years. She has worked in hos­pital, clinic, school, home care, clinical informatics, nurse tri­age, and public health settings as a registered nurse and in health ­care and public health administration roles. Anderson current­ly works for Essen­tia Health as a nurse clinician through the Nurse Care Ling tri­age service.

“Nursing is a career that has a lot of op­portunities, is steeped in traditions, and pro­vides amazing op­portunities to make a significant difference in people’s lives,” Houle-Burns and An­derson shared. “The Nurse Honor Guard and the Nightingale Tribute recognize the nurse’s selfless ser­vice and is an import­ant way to respectful­ly honor and extend thanks to nursing colleagues for their dedicated service to patients, families, and their communities. Being a family mem­ber of a nurse can be extremely challeng­ing, as many nurses work shifts, work hol­idays and weekends, which is why we be­lieve the families and friends often share how much this tribute has meant to them, as they say goodbye to their loved ones.”

The Nightingale Tribute is similar to a military tribute. It begins with a small lamp lit to symbolize a nurse’s dedication to their profession. This lamp also represents the lamp carried by Florence Nightingale during her service in the Crimean War. A white rose is placed near the casket or urn, and the person plac­ing the rose eulogizes, “We honor you this day and give a white rose to symbolize our honor and appreci­ation for being our nursing colleague.” The Final Call to Duty is then held. The nurse’s name is called out three times, after which the nurse is an­nounced as released from their nursing du­ties, and the lamp is extinguished.

Registered and li­censed practical nurs­es who have ques­tions or would like to join the North Shore Nurse Honor Guard can contact Rennae Houle-Burns (218-390-6522) or Louise Anderson (218-830-9895). “We will be happy to answer them and have them join us for this work.” Florence Night­ingale once said, “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions that bring results.” Houle-Burns and Anderson are tak­ing action to make sure that nurses are honored.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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