How to Appreciate Nurses During Nurses Week

Being a Female Motivational Speaker at Nurses' Week EventAs a guest speaker during Nurses Week, people want to know how to appreciate nurses. 

Do you work with a group of dedicated, compassionate overworked nurses? Do you want to appreciate them and recognize them for their hard work during Nurses Week or anytime? Recognize nurses for their outstanding professionalism and commitment to excellent patient care.

Remember it’s great to celebrate people during a special time like Nurses Week and the best celebration happens regularly. Is there a way you can celebrate people every day? Some of the programs/ideas below can be (and should be!) considered as a year long celebration effort.

When I'm a keynote speaker at a nursing conference, I ask the group to tell me the best recognition they have received. As suspected, the best recognition is genuine and unique. Rarely is it the awards ceremony or the gold pen. Timing is also important. The closer to the actual accomplishment the better. Ultimately you want to catch someone in the act of doing a good job.

great examples collected from nursing conference participants

  • A thank you card with a sincere message from leadership. For an added touch, send it to the family home.
  • Involve the community. Write an article for a community publication and feature stories about nurses in your unit. Hold an open house and invite community members, have nurses as guest speakers and share stories about their colleagues who have gone above and beyond.
  • A long term care nursing facility holds an annual Studs with Suds Event. On a hot day, managers (considered studs for the day) wash employees cars - with their shirts off. Since most of the leadership weren't really studs, it made for very humorous conversation.
  • Give a gift card to a favorite coffee shop.
  • Encourage on the spot recognition programs like a spontaneous standing ovation from physicians.
  • Ask physicians to serve coffee to nurses.
  • Have employees or patients and family members nominate someone for going above and beyond their call of duty- and have an informal recognition for the most nominations.
  • Some nursing conferences have humorous ribbons that the keynote speaker can work into their talk and break the tension. Ribbons like Fearless Leader, Good Kisser, Slacker and prankster are great conversation starters.
  • On a similar bend, you could have funny names for rooms like the "Get me out of here!" break room or a fun room with basketball hoops, a humor board, comics, a toy box with clown noses, rubber chickens and more.
  • Hire someone to come in during Nurses Week and do funny caricatures of staff members.
  • Give other professionals ( physicians, lab professionals, housekeeping, pharmacists) tools to help appreciate nurses. These can be gift cards to the cafeteria, candy, fun recognition ribbons and more.

Remember there is no one right way to recognize people. The one size fits all approach is the least effective and often does more harm than good.

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