Nurse Appreciation Ideas for National Nurses Week

Nurse appreciation week starts Saturday, May 6th!

National Nurses Week begins May 6. Get inspired by these nurse appreciation ideas to thank the nurses in your company! (Photo via Esther Max, Flickr)

Nurse appreciation is the focus of National Nurses Week, which begins May 6. Plan your Nurses Week celebrations now!

Nurses could use more appreciation, according to an informal poll on the professional networking and discussion site Mighty Nurse. The poll asked “Do you feel appreciated?” — and more than three-quarters of respondents answered, “Not really.”

According to Gallup, nursing is among the most highly regarded and trusted professions, ranking higher than military personnel, doctors and teachers.

So why aren’t nurses feeling the appreciation?

One major factor could be the overall lack of employee recognition across all industries. General respect and trust for a profession doesn’t automatically translate into concrete acts of appreciation.

A Gallup analysis found that only one in three U.S. workers “strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days.”

Worse yet, “it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored,” Gallup’s Annamarie Mann and Nate Dvorak write.

First Step: Raise Awareness

In the fast-paced, hectic environments nurses work in — hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care, hospice — appreciation can get lost in the shuffle, or be reserved for doctors.

In his HuffPo article “Why Every Week Should Be Nurse Appreciation Week,” Brian Secemsky, M.D., writes, “Throughout history, the culture of medicine has revered the role of a physician as the core to patient care and medical recovery. Yet in my personal work experience, absolutely no care would be delivered without the critical role of a nurse.” Engaging nurses is good for everyone!

Simply raising awareness of the special job nurses have is a big part of nurse appreciation.

“Nurses are often quick to say, ‘I am just doing my job,’ and to some degree that is correct,” Mary Jo Andre, chief nursing officer at Texas Children’s Hospital tells the Houston Chronicle. “However, it is not the task of passing medications that makes their role special. Their role is special because they are in the position of being present with (and for) our patients and their families when they are experiencing their most challenging times.”

Nurse Appreciation Week continues May 6 through May 12.

Read on for nurse appreciation ideas to inspire your workplace celebration. Even if your organization doesn’t have nurses on staff, Nurse Appreciation Week is a great opportunity to engage employees in community outreach and gratitude-building!

Nurse Appreciation Ideas to Engage Employees

Download nurse appreciation ideas and free materials with the American Nurses AssociationThe American Nurses Association (ANA) promotes and creates the annual National Nurses Week theme.

Every day nurses put patients first. With the National Nurses Week, the ANA wants to support, elevate and celebrate the profession.

Here are eight ideas and resources for highlighting wellness and nurse appreciation for Nurses Week:

1. Download the ANA National Nurses Week Toolkit

It’s got a branded “Thank You” card to share, Certificates of Appreciation, display banners and more. You can also download official National Nurses Week logos.

2. Sign up for the ANA nurse wellness webinar

The annual webinar is free for participants and provides tools and strategies “to infuse meaning, joy and restoration into your practice and your life.”

3. Learn and discuss the history of National Nurses Week

The history of National Nurses Week dates back to 1953. It was originally held in October but changed to May to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, recognized as the founder of modern nursing.

Nurse appreciation ideas: gThankYou! Fruit and Vegetable Gift Certificates will delight!

Share your nursing staff appreciation with Fruit and Vegetable Gift Certificates! Show them you care with a healthy treat.

4. Bring in treats for nursing staff

…and preferably healthy snacks like fruit, veggies and dip, pretzels, oatmeal bars, string cheese, beef jerky, yogurt, etc. As Mighty Nurse blogger Kevin Pan puts it:

“Sometimes we’re so busy we don’t really have the time to sit down and have a proper meal. We instead grab something quickly and eat on the go. Bringing something snacky and healthy is one of the best things you can do to help a nurse out!”

5. Enable a process for patients to recognize nurses

Nurses want to know that their hard work and compassion day in and day out is making a real difference in their patients’ lives. So provide a way for patients to easily share their stories of appreciation, through a website or bulletin board comment section, Thank You cards, or on social media.

6. Share gThankYou! Fruits & Vegetables Gift Certificates

Make it easy for busy nurses to eat healthy! Share gThankYou! Fruits & Vegetables Gift Certificates — these convenient certificates can be redeemed for any brand or preparation of produce, at virtually any grocery store nationwide.

7. Participate or organize in a charity walkathon or 5k run

This idea comes from the Austin Statesman newspaper — writer Drew Carr says events such as walk-a-thons or 5k races “are great ways to both promote a healthy lifestyle and celebrate nurses.” He suggests engaging nurses at every step of the way:

“At the start and finish of the event, take the time to emphasize the importance of nursing and the work that nurses perform. Donate the proceeds to a local charity selected by the nurses, or to a local health care facility that could use the extra funds.”

8. Just Say ‘Thank You’

Nurses spend their days caring for others, so it’s essential that they feel cared for, too! A simple “Thank You,” whether it’s in person, by phone, through social media or a nice handwritten card, will be appreciated. At least some of this gratitude should come directly from top management.

Why not share the myriad of notes that nurses receive by patients and loved ones with your staff. Keep sources confidential but sharing the honest, heartfelt gratitude will make everyone feel part of a larger mission and valued in their profession.


Free Resource: Your Day-to-Day Employee Engagement Calendar

We all need inspiration to make employee appreciation a daily habit. gThankYou’s Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar gives you the tools and inspiration to build a culture of appreciation every day of the year. Be inspired; download yours today, absolutely free.

“In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day — or to celebrate each special day.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru, coach and author


2019 Employee Celebration Calendar - Free Download from gThankYou Employee Gifts

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