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Celebrating Nurses Week: The Busy Nurses’ Way

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By Marianne Belleza, R.N.

The daily heroic acts of nurses across the globe would once again hit the spotlight as the world celebrates Nurses Week. Nurses are readily available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, so how does a busy nurse celebrate a very significant week that comes only once a year?

History of Nurses’ Week

The realization of Nurses Week took more than two decades to be recognized. Countless prominent nurses of all time have proposed for a National Nurses’ Day to be celebrated, however, it was never proclaimed.

In January 1974, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) made a declaration of their own. They established May 12 as the International Nurses Day. The date was based on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. A month after the ICN’s announcement, President Nixon proclaimed that they would be celebrating the National Nurses Week — just for that year.

After eight years, the American Nurses Association (ANA) announced that they would extend the nurses’ recognition day to a week for the following year. National Nurses Week is to be on May 6 to 12, 1991.

In 1993, ANA proclaimed that May 6 to 12 would permanently be designated as National Nurses Week annually, from 1994 and onwards. This is the birth of the National Nurses Week in the US.

Nurses Week Ideas

Celebrating Nurses Week is the most joyful event in the life of busy nurses. This is the week wherein every nurses’ sacrifice and good deeds are recognized and placed on the spotlight. However, nurses in every shift are ultimately and infinitely busy. So, how does a busy nurse celebrate the Nurses Week while completing their daily duties at the same time? Here are some of our suggestions.

1. Energizing meal!

There is nothing like a good, hearty meal to start the shift! Most nurses are too busy during their shift to even grab a snack. Serving them with a healthy yet convenient meal such as sandwiches, fresh smoothies, or even finger foods would help replenish their energy without taking too much of their precious time in caring for their patients. Having a station where nurses can whip up a cup of tea or coffee would also be a much-appreciated gesture.

2. Surprise items for fellow nurses

Who doesn’t love surprises? There is nothing more exciting than unboxing and unwrapping surprise gifts. Nurses are very much appreciative of the small things given to them, especially if they could use it at works.

Lifesavers for Lifesavers (Nurses Week Gift Ideas)
Lifesavers for lifesavers! Image via: Pinterest

Wrapping up pretty surprises such as cute pens or personalized tumblers and setting them at the nurses’ station before each shift would bring a smile to each and every nurse before the start of the shift. Setting up a large bowl that contains key chains, stylus pens, and other handy office supplies and letting each nurse choose a gift would also be a great way to inspire each nurse. We have more gift ideas for nurses here.

3. Nurses’ Week shirts for every staff

Having a Nurses Week t-shirt for every shift or group is also a fun way to celebrate the entire week. Let the nurses choose the color for each group and have them choose a design that they would wear every day during their shift in celebration of the Nurses’ Week.

4. Awarding of exemplary nurses

Honor a special nurse for this special week. Make it a point to have a “Nurse of the Month” starting from this week to recognize the exemplary efforts given by the staff every month. Choose someone who has always been a good role model.

5. Encouragement of participation from student nurses

Celebrate the week together with the student nurses assigned in your department. Reward the “Best Student Nurse of the Month” and present them with a plaque and a gift. Student nurses learn much from their clinical exposures and this is all due to the staff nurses who allow them to participate with client care. Staff nurses are emulated by the student nurses, so be sure to become a good role model who they can learn so much from.

6. Picture collages on the announcement board

Picture-perfect moments and memories worth remembering should always be captured on camera. Setting up a collage of the most memorable pictures of the staff on the station’s announcement board would allow everyone to reminisce on the good memories. Pictures from team buildings, get-aways, and adventures should be collected and posted to create that fun and heart-warming collage for Nurses’ Week.

7. Festive Nurse Stations

Make way for nurses who have a passion for the arts to decorate their floor and nurse stations based on this year’s theme. Friendly competition is a good idea where the winning floor gets extra points or win a gift basket for the whole unit. This activity also doubles as an opportunity for team bonding. Also, a festive ambiance will help uplift and empower nurses to start the day right and end it with a smile on their hearts.

8. Fundraising for patients

Even when it is not Nurses Week, nurses love to give back to the community and their patients as well. Preparing a fund-raiser or a community event wherein the beneficiaries are the patients would be a worthwhile activity. Have a food drive, or a bake sale, and even a dancing event with the proceeds going to the patient’s necessities, such as food, clothes, and medicines. Nurses would not only enjoy the activity, but they would also be inspired to help others in need at all times.

9. End of shift massages

At the end of each shift, arrange for a massage party for the tired nurses. It can be a chair massage or just the regular massage by a masseuse, but it would surely be relaxing to outgoing nurses. Offer items that may prolong the pampering, like Manicure and Pedicure kits. This will not only ease the tiredness off the nurses but they will feel pampered as well after a long, tiresome shift.

10. Educate on relaxation techniques

Have a yoga teacher or a stress management adviser to come over at the end of each shift and teach the nurses about several relaxation techniques. Topics on healthy ways to deal with stress are quite handy, especially for nurses. Relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi could be done in quick classes, nothing too complicated for the nurses to learn for a short span of time.

Serving up some of these activities would be a great way to celebrate a week-long recognition of nurses. This week would not be the only chance to highlight the efforts of the nurses, but every day is a chance to celebrate the kindness and tender, loving care that is wholeheartedly giving to each and every patient under their wings.

Marianne leads a double life, working as a staff nurse during the day and moonlighting as a writer for Nurseslabs at night. As an outpatient department nurse, she has honed her skills in delivering health education to her patients, making her a valuable resource and study guide writer for aspiring student nurses.

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