Nurses are the heart of healthcare. While National Nurses Week runs from May 6–12 every year, it’s always a great time to recognize nurse contributions.
Studies show that meaningful recognition can renew a nurse’s commitment to their profession. It inspires and motivates nurses to keep giving back to patients and colleagues. It deepens a nurse’s loyalty to their workplace. And it makes them proud of their hard work.
In short, nurse recognition keeps them going. That’s why it’s so crucial.
Different organizations recognize nurses in a variety of ways. For example, Cleveland Clinic offers nurses the opportunity to throw the first pitch at a Cleveland Indians baseball game. They also host “Nurses Night Out” events and nursing award recognition ceremonies.
Northwell Health in New York is also taking nurse recognition seriously. It recently offered the COVID-19 frontline staff $2,500 bonuses and an extra week of paid time off.
What can your organization do to honor nurses? Here are a few ideas:
Promotions: Most nurses want to excel in their careers. They don’t want to stay stagnant. Most strive for the ultimate form of recognition: a promotion. Offering regular promotions gives nurses the chance to set goals and work toward something bigger. It positively impacts their wallets as well as their sense of pride.
Raises and bonuses: No matter how much nurses love their jobs, remember that the paycheck matters. Raises and bonuses are two financial recognitions that keep nurses motivated and inspired, especially in times of high stress. Just like a promotion, a raise or bonus shows nurses the value of their hard work.
Awards: Take a cue from the Cleveland Clinic and how it hosts award ceremonies recognizing nurses; other organizations can do the same. You can also offer awards without hosting a ceremony. Encourage your internal staff to nominate remarkable work or submit inspirational stories. Recognize the nurses going above and beyond with a small gift, like a plaque, gift card, or company apparel.
Days off: Who doesn’t love an extra day off work? Offering nursing staff a reward like a day off is a great way to boost energy and morale. The hardest working employees will work even harder, and those less motivated may feel inspired to contribute more, too.
Tuition reimbursement/school loan assistance: As part of their benefits packages, many healthcare organizations offer a form of tuition reimbursement, school loan assistance, or continuing education scholarships to nurses. Check with your human resources department to see what your place of employment offers.
Shout-outs during meetings: Sometimes verbal recognition is all it takes to light a fire in someone. At staff meetings, open the agenda with nurse recognition. Ask volunteers to share a quick story or kudos to someone who has recently made a huge impact. Congratulate the recipient in front of the group to help them feel proud of their accomplishment.
Simple thank-yous: How often do you tell your coworkers or caregivers “thank you” or “job well done”? These simple proclamations can do wonders for a person’s self-esteem. Not only are they impactful during a hard day, they can mean so much during an average day. People remember your kind words — make an extra effort to share more of them this year.
Send flowers, balloons, or e-cards: Cleveland Clinic has a “Thank a Nurse” program where patients, caregivers, friends, community members, and family members can send flowers, balloons, e-cards, and other gifts to nurses. This is a great idea for any hospital or health system. It’s an easy way for anyone who interacts with nurses to show their appreciation.
COVID-19 Nurse Recognition
Feel-good stories of the public recognizing and thanking our nation’s healthcare workers are flooding the Internet. Here are a few examples:
- Italians are singing from balconies to show unity and appreciation during the pandemic
- New York City residents are cheering from balconies during healthcare workers’ shift change every night
- Car convoys drove past Kaiser Permanente and honked their horns to celebrate and thank the healthcare workers
- Restaurants are donating meals to hospital staff during work hours
Recognize the Nurses in Your Life
No matter who you are — a fellow nurse, a hospital staff member, or a patient yourself — you can contribute to meaningful nurse recognition. Help us show some love for the heart of health care. Nurses certainly deserve it, now more than ever.