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The Precious Prints Project® comforts grieving families with a sterling silver pendant bearing the fingerprint of their child. The project was developed at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Nursing in partnership with Precious Metal Prints, a local business. First launched at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in January 2012, it has expanded to include all major health systems in Knox County, with fundraising and project management handled by the Student Nurses Association.
The Precious Prints Project® has also grown to include the Student Nurses’ Association at Union University in Hendersonville, TN, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as nursing students from both universities work together with students at UT to implement the project to families impacted by the loss of a child.
Since the beginning of the project, through the Student Nurses Association funding efforts and project management, more than 1000 families have received a tangible linking remembrance of a child’s life that ended all too soon.
A Note from a Mom
I wear it around my neck. I see you staring at it with looks of confusion at first and then the looking away. I know it must be hard to see. After taking a good look, you realize that I am wearing my baby’s thumbprint. You remember that he is gone. To me, my necklace is the most precious gift in the world. I stare at it sometimes, and I can almost feel his little body in the cradle of my hands again.
My words could never do justice to the gratitude I feel towards the people that brought this project to life and strive every day to reach more families through such a heartbreaking time. This project spreads hope and joy, and I am so thankful to be a tiny part of it by proudly wearing my son’s thumbprint around my neck. To those that help make Precious Prints possible, I extend my deepest gratitude. Thank you for helping me hold on to the missing piece of my heart.
A Note from a Student
The Precious Prints Project highlights the art of nursing. The caring, supportive, family-centered component of nursing is a piece that is not easily taught in a book or a classroom. It is a way for our student nurses to invest in families and honor those patients whose lives ended too soon. We have seen through the years how a silver fingerprint charm can provide a tangible remembrance of a life and calm a mother’s heart. Seeing a mother touch her charm when she remembers her baby and hearing stories of the sweet time they spent together, even though it was short, has made this “project” turn into a “passion” for me. I feel proud to be part of a university who trains up future nurses with knowledge, and sends them out with passion.
Philanthropy Chair, College of Nursing SNA
The University of Tennessee
Class of 2015
A Note from a Nurse
Recently, we had 3 deaths all in one unit all within a week of each other. As their supplies were depleted, a nurse ran downstairs from that unit to grab more kits from me. Even in her moment of stress & grief, she stopped to say that making prints was the one thing she felt like she could do to comfort both the child’s family as well as the nurses on the unit. She reiterated several times during our brief conversation how much it means to all of us that this project has been able to continue. I can never thank you enough for your persistence to keep the Precious Prints Project running smoothly. I am also extremely grateful for all the students who balance both school & being a part of this incredible project. They are the future nurse leaders of our world, and are all the type of people I would hope to have taking care of me or my family.
- Journal of Maternal-Child Nursing – Miller, L. H., Lindley, L. C., Mixer, S. J., Fornehed, M. L., & Niederhauser, V. P. (2014). Developing a perinatal memory-making program at a children’s hospital. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 39(2), 102-106.
- Journal of Professional Nursing – Miller, L. H., Mixer, S. J., Lindley, L. C., Fornehed, M. L., Niederhauser, V., & Barnes, L. (2015). Using partnerships to advance nursing practice and education: The precious prints project. Journal of Professional Nursing, 31(1), 50-56.
- Pediatric Nursing – Niederhauser, V., Barnes, L., Chyka, D., Gaylord, N., Mefford, L., Miller, L., & Mixer, S. J. (2016). Better together: a win-win pediatric academic partnership. Pediatric Nursing, 42(4), 175.
- WBIR Interview Dec. 2019
- Sprint for the Prints 2019 Video
- Sprint for the Prints 2018 Video
- Precious Prints Project® Informational Video
- WBIR News Segment – 10/28/2017
- WBIR News Segment – 10/26/2017
- WATE News Segment – 10/24/2017
- Precious Metal Prints
For more information, contact Lynne Miller at email@example.com.