CHRISTUS Health highlights Nurse Honor Guard for National Nurses Week


In honor of National Nurses Week, CHRISTUS Health Southeast Texas – St. Elizabeth is recognizing its Nurse Honor Guard, which pays tribute during memorial services to nurses who have died, honoring their legacy and life’s work.

National Nurses Week is May 6-12, recognizing the valuable contributions of nurses everywhere. It ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

“We liken Nurse Honor Guard service to that of a military tribute where we officially release the nurse from their nursing duties,” said Jaime Wright, a member of the honor guard and sepsis coordinator at CHRISTUS Health – St. Elizabeth. “We have been able to serve around 50 families since starting this program.”

Wright is one of the founding members of the Southeast Texas Nurse Honor Guard, which was created in 2022. She said she wanted to honor nurses in the Beaumont community and was inspired by a similar program in another state.

“I saw the need for this program after losing an emergency room nurse in July of 2022,” she said. “I searched the internet and found the Nurse Honor Guard, originating in Kansas in 2005. I knew immediately this would be the perfect way to honor not only our nurses who pass but any nurse in the region.”

During the memorial or funeral services for a nurse, each member of the guard wears the traditional nurse’s uniform: white scrubs, shoes, cap and blue cape. A burning candle leads them down the aisle of the church where they deliver a card to the family.

“We recite the Nightingale tribute along with the nurse’s prayer and place a white rose on the casket symbolizing our appreciation of them being our colleague,” Wright said. “At the end, we do a ‘final call of duty’ where we call the nurse to report for duty one last time.”

She said the honor guard has touched so many lives that other CHRISTUS Health ministries were inspired to create their own program.

“This program has set the CHRISTUS Health standard,” she said. “Just as much as we take care of our patients, we take care of our colleagues and their families.”

The Nurse Honor Guard is not limited to CHRISTUS Health associates. Any active or retired registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse in the state of Texas is eligible to join or receive the service.

The Nurse Honor Guard can be requested by the funeral home or families.

“Nursing is a calling, and we want to do what we can to recognize those who answered the call,” Wright said. “It’s truly an honor to express to the families their loved ones made a difference in the community choosing to be a nurse.”