Nurse Honor Guard services expanded by GCSU faculty

T hree faculty at Georgia College & State University have created the Order of the White Rose chapter for the Georgia Nurse Honor Guard, which now spans the width of Georgia.

Assistant Professors of nursing Dr. Amy Malcom, Dr. Joyce Norris-Taylor and Dr. Catherine Fowler co-founded the chapter to expand free funeral and tribute services to 14 rural counties in Georgia.
 
A new program, the Georgia Nurse Honor Guard was established in January 2024 to provide funeral services to nurses, similar to those performed for law enforcement and military personnel. The guard’s chapters also offer living tributes to former nurses who live in hospices.
 
“It’s a way for nurses to honor other nurses,” Malcom said. “It’s a way to show unity. We’re all together, we’re all unified in what we do and we’re stronger together.”
 
In their funeral service, the volunteer guards dress in full-white nursing attire with the lit Nightingale lamp of the nurse who has passed away. Another member of the guard lays a white rose for the nurse, and their name is called three times. After a chime is rung and the name is called a third time, their candle is extinguished.

Dr. Joyce Norris-Taylor
– We don’t just honor the nurse’s sacrifice, but the sacrifices folks make for that nurse to be available for others.

“Nursing is not a nine-to-five job, your family pays for you to be a nurse,” Norris-Taylor said. “You come home emotionally and physically exhausted, so your family gives just as a military family gives. We don’t just honor the nurse’s sacrifice, but the sacrifices folks make for that nurse to be available for others.”

To request free funeral or living tribute services in Baldwin, Butts, Clarke, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Johnson, Lincoln, Morgan, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Taliaferro, Washington or Wilkes County, family members can reach out to Malcom at amynp43@gmail.com or visit the Georgia Nurse Honor Guard website. 

Their chapter is also seeking volunteers. Practicing nurses who would like to volunteer are required to be licensed, and retired nurses must be in good standing with the Georgia Board of Nursing. Volunteers must apply by contacting Malcom, as well.
 
“We get a Nightingale lamp when we graduate from nursing school, and we extinguish their lamp and return it to their family as thanks for their sacrifice,” Malcom said. “It’s a full-circle kind of thing.”