Precious Prints Project
Contact: Lynne Miller
To help us continue providing this service to families in the future, you can support our project by clicking the graphic for the Big Orange Give below.
The loss of a child is a devastating experience for parents and families and presents challenges that few of us can imagine. Often nurses have the privilege of bearing witness to this private suffering as families forge forward with lives dramatically changed by the loss of their child.
The Precious Prints Project was developed in order to comfort grieving families who have suffered the loss of their child by providing them a sterling silver pendant bearing the fingerprint of their child.
The project was developed and initiated at the University of Tennessee College of Nursing in partnership with Precious Metal Prints, a local business. It was launched at East Tennessee Children's Hospital (ETCH) in January 2012, the Labor and Delivery unit at Parkwest Hospital in May 2014, began at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in March 2015, and expanded to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in April 2016.
Since that time, through the Student Nurses' Association (SNA)'s funding efforts and project management, more than 300 families have received a tangible linking remembrance of a child's life that ended all too soon.
SNA representatives have educated hundreds of staff nurses at partnering locations on project overview and achievement of getting an optimal print quality.
Prints are provided at no cost to the family and are received by mail several weeks after the pendants are created.
A Note from a Mom:Our family was the recipient of a precious print kit. My desire is to tell you what these kits mean to our family, although I fear I will not do it justice. I must first tell you how we got to where we needed a kit. We found out at about 23 weeks pregnant that our daughter, Alexandria, wasn’t healthy. We were devastated yet, because of our abounding love for our unborn daughter, I carried her to term. Alex was born on October 6, 2014, and she was the most beautiful baby girl I’ve ever seen. She had the sweetest cry. We knew her time here on Earth would be short and we had to occasionally remind ourselves to live in the moments we had with her. To not fast forward. She was showered with love every second of her life here on Earth. We held Alex in our arms for 6 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes. And then we kissed her goodbye. I will spend the rest of my life longing to hear her sweet cry. Longing to sing “Hush Little Baby” with her safely swaddled in my arms. Nothing will change this feeling of loss. Nothing will take away this pain. But my pendant is a tangible memory of the life Alex lived, physically touched by my little angel. It’s a reminder that Alex was real. And some days, I just need a reminder that she was real. I ask for you to support Precious Prints for the moms and dads who will experience this type of loss. And my hope is that every mom and dad in Knoxville will be blessed with a physical and tangible reminder that their child too was real. Even if for all too short of a time.A Note from a Student: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.Katherine BoltonPhilanthropy Chair, College of Nursing SNATHE UNIVERSITY of TENNESSEEClass 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.