If there’s one profession in the healthcare world that doesn’t tend to get the recognition it deserves, it’s without a doubt nursing. But, when you think about it, these are some of the most caring, hardworking and involved medical health professionals!
Nurses are pretty much the firefighters of their industry – they hardly ever run away from a challenge. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to show them appreciation every day, but especially during May 6-12 this year, which happens to be Nurses Appreciation Week.
Why celebrate Nurses Appreciation Week?
The very first National Nurses Week, as it was originally called, was in 1954, the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s famous mission to war-torn Crimea. For those who don’t know much about Nightingale, she has gone down in the history books as the founder of modern nursing. Her visit during the Crimean War, which she ventured on with a staff of 38 female volunteer nurses whom she had trained, earned her the nickname “The Lady with the Lamp,” as she used to make rounds treating ill and wounded soldiers throughout the night. Each Nurses Appreciation Week ends on her birthday, May 12, and serves as an annual day to recognize the valiant efforts of nurses all over the country.
It’s easy to forget just how much nurses are responsible for. They pretty much run the show alongside a whole team of medical practitioners. According to the American Nurses Association, the list of responsibilities and duties of an RN, or a registered nurse, include but are not limited to:
- performing physical exams
- taking health histories
- providing health counseling and education
- administering medication
- caring for wounds, and more
All in the mix of things, they have to deal with a myriad of personalities, not all of them nice given the stress and anxiety that accompanies many of these medical visits.
How to show appreciation to the nurses in your life?
Gift them a chair massage
Nurses are on their feet nearly their entire shift, which can be as long as 12 hours! So by the time they get home after a hard day’s work, they’re not only mentally exhausted but physically exhausted as well. What better way to give nurses the TLC they deserve than by gifting them a chair massage at the end of a long shift?
Consider setting up 2-3 massage chairs in the nurses’ lounge at your hospital or clinic. The massage therapists will bring the necessary equipment (chairs including) and nurses can schedule their appointments online. You’d be surprised by the number of health benefits associated with chair massage!
Treat them to lunch or a snack
If your friend or family member is a nurse, you might want to consider treating him or her to a nice lunch. Or, depending on how big of a sweet tooth he or she is, you could surprise him or her at work with a box of donuts. This way, he or she can share with the rest of the nursing staff. It’s certainly one way to spread appreciation throughout the office!
Who doesn’t love getting surprised by a lovely bouquet of blooms? Flowers are always a nice way to brighten up someone’s day. Whether it’s a close friend or family member who is a nurse by profession, or simply a nurse who treated you when you were sick or injured, sending a bouquet of flowers is a lovely gesture and way to show that you appreciate their hard work and dedication.
Write a letter of appreciation
Too often we take the time to truly express how we feel. And doing it the old-fashioned way—putting pen to paper—is arguably the best. This is especially true given the social media and the technology-saturated world we live in today. Consider sending the special nurse in your life a letter. In it, describe just how much you appreciate his or her dedication to being the best nurse he or she possibly can be. If you have a particular situation to reference, perhaps when this nurse was there for you in a time of need, feel free to mention it. You just never know how much it can brighten up their day!
Jenn Sinrich is an experienced writer, digital and social editor and content strategist based in Boston, Massachusetts. She has written for SELF, Women’s Health, Martha Stewart Weddings, Reader’s Digest, PureWow, and many other publications. Learn more about Jenn at jennsinrich.com and on LinkedIn.