DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– To pay tribute to National Nurses Week, Ohio’s Hospice Nursing Honor Guard wanted to honor generations of nurses who once served Dayton and those who currently are.

Thursday’s tribute was quite emotional for the volunteers as many have dedicated years of service to Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. As the Miami Valley continues to recover from the pandemic, many hospice nurses reflected on what it means to celebrate the end of life.

“It’s a very emotional time just with the COVID-19 pandemic and coming through that,” said RN Team Leader Amy Berner. “This is a time we can actually celebrate again and be with those amongst us as a team and celebrate life.”

Dressed in the historical blue nursing capes, white uniforms and caps, each volunteer recited the Florence Nightingale Pledge. When a calming quiet presence was all that was needed, a hospice nurse was there.

“It means that nurses are amazing, fabulous and fierce people, they are here to stay, we love all our nurses and the care they give our patients,” said Vice President of Clinical Care and Chief Nursing and Care Officer Yvonne Turner. “Without nurses, I’m not sure where we’d be, they’re a huge part of our health care team. We love all our care team members but today we’re recognizing nurses for all their hard work.”

Today’s tribute honored the nurses who have dedicated their lives to celebrating others as their story comes to an end.

“Hospice chooses you, I’ve been a nurse for a very long time, 25 plus years,” said Berner. “A lot of nurses celebrate the beginning of life but we celebrate the end as the patient passes.”

Since the program began in 2016, the Nursing Honor Guard has completed more than 200 tributes at the bedside of nurses in hospice care.