April 17, 2018 | Kayla Valiquette, BSN, RNC-NIC
Countdown to Nurses Week: six ways to say thanks
After 11 years of nursing I’ve had my share of Nurses Weeks. I’ve always helped my patients and colleagues without expecting anything in return. There have been times, however, when people have gone above and beyond to say thank you in a memorable way.
Nurses, being generally generous and selfless individuals, do not expect anything extra for the care and help they provide. When someone does take the time to say thanks, it certainly can have a big impact on a nurse’s life. Nurses Week is the perfect opportunity to give a little back to a nurse who has touched your life.
Whether you’re a supervisor, physician, colleague, patient, or family member, there are many ways to say thanks. A simple verbal “thank you” will always suffice, but sometimes you may feel compelled to do more. If you want to show your appreciation to a special nurse during Nurses Week, or any time of the year, you can try one of these ideas. Here are a few ways people have shown appreciation that have meant the most to me over the years.
Ideas for National Nurses Week
Handwritten note or a card. I worked with very sick infants for years and some families were so touched by how I cared for their child. I only received a few cards, but the fact that someone took the time to pen their thoughts and express their gratitude deeply affected me. I have kept those cards and occasionally when I’m on the hunt for something in my file cabinet I will come across them, read them again, and remember. Remember the patient. The family. Their story.
Sweets. While we are a sweet bunch already, there is always room for a little more sugar. Years back, during one of my first Nurses Weeks one of our unit leaders put together an ice cream social. We were able to make sundaes topping our ice cream with sprinkles, whipped cream, syrups, and candies to our heart’s content. It brightened up everyone’s day.
Healthy snacks. While we do love our sweets, nurses often take care of their own health last. An assortment of healthy snack such as protein bars, nuts, fruit and veggies can help us keep up our energy during a busy, long shift. An edible arrangement is a beautiful, fuss-free way to show your appreciation.
Small gifts. A stethoscope is an extension of a nurse and is required to do many aspects of the job. Nurses can usually be seen around the unit or office with a stethoscope draped around the neck or plugged in the ears as a patient is examined. There are many simple, inexpensive options to dress up a stethoscope. I once was given a charm to put on mine and since I used it numerous times every shift I was always able to see the gift. It also helps make your stethoscope more recognizable so if there is ever a time it gets left on the desk, it won’t suddenly grow legs and walk away.
Caffeine. Not many nurses can get through 12+ hour shifts, weekends away from family, and night shifts without it. A gift card for their favorite coffee place, a mug with a bag of coffee, or a freshly brewed/steeped cup can do the trick.
Compression socks. Nurses stand on their feet all day, which can be tiring on the legs and feet. A good pair of compression socks can make such a difference in soothing aches and preventing swelling. It’s a gift that truly keeps on giving and one pair can last a long time providing many comfortable shifts.
There’s still time
National Nurses Week is May 6-12, 2018. There’s plenty of time left to surprise the special nurses in your life with a small token of appreciation. Be sure to take a moment during that week to tell a nurse, “thank you”. Almost everyone has been impacted by a nurse at some point in their life.
I no longer work at the bedside, however, the small tokens of appreciation I received over the years live on vividly in my heart. They remind me of the important work I did every day, providing care for people in their time of need. Make a nurse’s day this year!
The next time a nurse helps you feel better, take a moment to thank them for caring. They will truly appreciate it. #NiceToYourNurse.