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National Nurses Week was started by the American Nurses Association 1993 to celebrate the 4 million hardworking nurses for their outstanding dedication to the profession.
Each May, there are 7 days of opportunity for nurses to reflect on their patient care experiences and congratulate each other for all of their hard and selfless work. Even more importantly, this is a great week for management to recognize nurse achievements and genuinely say “thank you nurses!”
Unfortunately though, this week often comes and goes with little to no recognition for hospital nurses. On first thought one might think that many hospital administrators just forget about Nurses Week altogether.
But there is usually a small bit of evidence that they do remember, but just don’t care to put much effort into it. Often it is in the form of a cheap gift ordered in bulk – such as a plastic lunch pail with the hospital’s logo on it. And if your hospital unit is really lucky, you might even win a drawing for a pizza party at lunchtime! (I wish I were just being sarcastic, but sadly I’m not).
I’m not saying that hospitals need to throw outlandish parties with catered meals and champagne (although that would be nice!). Or that we get a cash bonus or prize (also would be nice, but really, who are we kidding here?).
What I am saying is that many hospitals have an opportunity to do a much better job of acknowledging nurse’s selfless dedication to helping thousands of patients survive and thrive that year. By recognizing our work in literally the absolute cheapest way possible, those basic 50 cent gifts with the hospital logo can be perceived as very condescending and self promoting gifts. Especially to nurses who are sacrificing so much to put others’ needs before their own.
In other words, instead of sending the message: “thank you so much for working on the front lines of healthcare to ensure that our patients get the absolute best patient care they deserve. You’re awesome!” Its more like, “At some point this week pick up your gift at the nurses office.” The end.
Isn’t making nurses feel unappreciated the opposite purpose of Nurses Week?
So sad, but true. The entire week goes by with not even a verbal “thank you for your service” or “we appreciate YOU, nurse.” Nothing.
So, with National Nurse’s Week approaching I wanted to make a list of relatively inexpensive yet fun nurses week gifts. Because there is nothing worse than being ignored during a holiday that is supposed to celebrate the hard work and selfless dedication of nurses everywhere.
(And, by the way nurse, you ARE awesome. Thank you for your dedication and service. The healthcare system would crumble without you!).
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