Nurses Week Spirit: How to Celebrate Nurses All Year
By Elizabeth Marcant, Contributor
National Nurses Day falls on May 6 every year, and the week following it is considered National Nurses Week. The week of celebration typically comes to a close on May 12, which was the birthday of modern nursing's queen, Florence Nightingale.
Nurses who have worked any amount of time in the field are likely familiar with this annual occurrence. Hospitals, doctor's offices and other providers that employ nurses typically use Nurses Week as an opportunity to show appreciation for the hardworking nurses on staff. Some common ways to celebrate nurses include showing up with flowers, cards or even food; some organizations sponsor fun events and parties while others cater lunch.
Whether you're a nurse, nurse manager or someone else in the healthcare trenches, though, consider employing these tips for celebrating nurses all year instead of saving them up for a single week.
Delve into the history of nursing
A great way to celebrate nurses or your own career is to learn a little about the history of the profession. You might start with looking back at the development of Nurses Week or the overall history of nursing.
During Nurses Week or any other time of the year, provide a bit of entertainment or a change of pace on the floor with a game of nursing history trivia. You can give out small prizes, such as sample-size hand cream, chocolates or iced coffees as nurses answer fun questions.
Create opportunities for small celebrations
Oncology Nursing News provides some ideas for ways to regularly celebrate nurses. The publication points out that oncology nursing can be stressful, which makes it important develop ways to enjoy small celebrations. This might include chemo patients ringing a bell to celebrate with their staff that treatments are completed or recognizing a different hard-working nurse each week.
These aren't just ideas that can be employed in oncology units, either. Every nursing team — and even travel nurses — can find small ways and things to celebrate. Doing so all year helps reduce stress, improve job satisfaction, increase team work and help foster more positive nurse/patient relationships.
Reward nurses for their ideas
Vanderbilt University Medical Center notes that good ideas are something worth celebrating. One way nurses and nurse managers can foster a more positive culture on any unit is by encouraging everyone to contribute constructive ideas and rewarding those who do. Whether you're asking for ideas for a special catered dessert or a critical change in policy, creating a way for everyone to be fully involved in the unit or department helps celebrate nurses, their knowledge and their skills all year.
Be open to opportunities for team-building or socialization
One of the best tips for celebrating nurses is recognizing that they exist outside of the healthcare environment. Provide ways for nurses to unwind, practice self-care or enjoy each other's company outside of work. For example, the Cleveland Clinic has sponsored events such as a 5k race, a research conference and chair massages. You don't have to be a nursing supervisor or C-suite exec in a hospital to take up this charge year-round. Nurses can celebrate themselves and each other by planning to get together to do something fun, even if it's just drinks after work, a group visit to the nail salon or time off their feet while watching a new release at the cinema.
If something is worth celebrating, it's worth considering all year. And while Nurses Week is a great event and can bring an upbeat and appreciative atmosphere to the unit, the positive vibes don't have to wane after the first weeks of May.
For nurses who don't feel appreciated in their current career track, travel nursing offers a great change of pace. Check out the jobs available through Travel Nursing and make your Nurses Week celebration one that involves applying for new work.