This website is dedicated with great love and respect to the nurses in my life — especially my nanny, mama, and aunts, all proud graduates of Knoxville General Hospital School of Nursing.
I found this poem in my mama’s scrapbook. Nothing I have ever read more clearly expresses the spirit of nursing they have embodied in their lives.
That cap the nurse on duty wears
Is costlier than the bonnets gay
Worn by the wives of millionaires
Regardless of the price they pay.
‘Tis something she herself can make,
A bit of linen, trimmed and turned
The right to it (for mercy’s sake)
Was with three years of training earned.
That uniform of spotless white
Was costlier than a lady’s gown,
‘Twas bought with care by day and night
For those with illness stricken down.
The royal robes show royal birth
But every nurse’s simple pin
Is emblematic of her worth;
A symbol she has toiled to win.
Oh gracious spirit, love imbued,
That can such tender care accord,
Perhaps it is, that gratitude
Must always be your best reward.
Now out of gratitude appears
This tribute, done in simple verse
Unto the dedicated years
Of all who choose to be a nurse.
by Edgar A. Guest