Nurses Week – May 6 through May 12
Considering the year we have just come through and the pandemic that still remains, National Nurses Week seems especially significant for 2021. As we inch our way toward what we hope will be a light at the end of the tunnel, many nurses and healthcare providers are finding themselves exhausted, burnt out, emotionally drained…yet hopeful and proud of this unprecedented time we have all made it through.
Nurses Week is recognized from May 6 – 12, ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale was a model for how to overcome adversity and thrive in a crisis, and she paved the way for modern nurses who fight every day against disease and death.
Nursing has grown and progressed by leaps and bounds since Nightingale’s day, but one thing remains constant. Nurses are some of the hardest working professionals you’ll ever meet. Being a nurse requires a high level of empathy and compassion…often in the face of difficult patients, hard to please families, and impossible emotional situations that there is often no time to mentally process. It can also be a job that goes without much recognition or praise…. but a job that is always vitally important, and especially so in times like these.
Whether the nurses in your life are family, friends, employees, or your own caregivers, let them know they are appreciated during Nurses Week and all year long. These are some ideas to help you say thank you and make them feel special.
Self-Care: Nurses are so busy and on their feet for long shifts. The physical work of nursing is demanding and for these reasons, the nurses in your life may love some items for pampering themselves. Anything that relieves their tired, aching bodies and especially their backs, hands, and feet will be welcomed! Think about a special heating pad (maybe with a massage setting), cute compression socks, wonderful hand cream, or even a pair of their favorite work shoes. These things will delight any nurse.
Help Out at Home: One thing nurses definitely don’t get enough of is sleep! Especially since COVID entered the picture and ESPECIALLY if they have small children. If you are close to a nurse and are so inclined, offer to take the kids for an afternoon so your nurse friend can catch a nap or ask for a grocery list and do the shopping for the week. If this seems too personal, you could bring over a bag of necessities like paper products, cleaning supplies, and favorite foods with a note of thanks.
Caffeination: Most nurses love (and need) their caffeine fix. A Starbucks gift card (or any coffee shop of your choice) or a special mug with a bag of delicious coffee will be a lovely and welcome treat!
Give Them a Shout Out: If you have been treated well by a nurse or if you happen to know a nurse who is working extra hard during the pandemic, give them a shout-out online! Nurses often don’t get recognized for their contributions; knowing you “see” them and appreciate what they are doing will absolutely make their day, their week, their year! Let your feelings be known to the online masses!
Food Talks: What you hear is true…it can be very hard to find time to eat when you are a busy nurse taking care of critically ill patients. When there is a chance to eat, nurses are ALL ABOUT GOOD FOOD! A gift card for a great meal, a credit for a food delivery service (Door Dash, Grub Hub, etc.), a basket of delicious goodies…this is the way to a nurse’s heart!
Give Them Pens: Nurses always need pens! If you gift a nurse a basket of ballpoint pens, sharpies, whiteboard pens and throw in a gift card or two, you can rest assured you have made that nurse very happy!
Share Your Appreciation With Their Manager: If you have been a patient and been cared for by a particularly great nurse…. let it be known! There are drop boxes in the hospital to share your comments, and you can also call or write a letter to the hospital’s Patient Advocate department expressing your thoughts about the excellent care you received.
Nursing, for most, is a calling and nurses are fulfilled and gratified by the moments that happen each day in which that nurse sees how he or she is making a difference in a patient’s life. In the moments in between, nursing can be a difficult profession…. physically, emotionally, and mentally. It is so important that we show our appreciation to the nurses we love and let them know we see how hard they work and the sacrifices they are making for the good of patients who cross their paths. When nurses feel appreciated, they are at their best, and when they are at their best, everyone in the community benefits!
Celebrate the nurses you love during Nurses Week May 6 – May 12 and continue to celebrate their achievements all year long!