The backbone of the healthcare industry is your nursing staff. They are often among the first to greet patients, have the most frequent and meaningful interactions with them, respond to emergency situations, and offer assistance that’s invaluable.
While a verbal thank you is a good place to start, and praise is never unwelcome, something more tangible lets your nurses know you care about and appreciate them.
Thanking your staff goes beyond helping them feel good. Numerous studies show that true recognition offered by employers makes sure your nurses are more loyal to your company, work harder, and increases their pride in their work.
This also helps create a more positive work environment and increases team building and collaboration. Hospitals who take the time to thank their nurses in meaningful ways have less turnover, better patient satisfaction surveys, and a happier nursing staff.
So what is the best way to say thanks? Here are some keys to celebrating with them.
It’s not often that you meet a nurse who isn’t hungry at some point during their shift, or who doesn’t need a pick me up from coffee or tea. But with twelve-hour days and heavy patient loads, it's often hard for them to stop and take breaks.
You can make that easier by offering awesome snacks or even catering meals throughout the week. A note here: when it comes to food, surprise snacks are good, and things like chocolate, gourmet treats, nuts, and even granola bars are fantastic choices. But when it comes to catering in a meal, it’s not a bad idea to give your nurses a heads up.
This helps so they don’t bring food from home, make meal plans, and so that you can offer choices for those on your staff with dietary restrictions or even preferences. Also, be sure to offer options at different times of the day for different shifts, and try to choose foods that can be held in warmers in the break room or that don’t need to be kept warm. Nurse’s breaks are often unpredictable and can be interrupted by patient needs, so keep that in mind.
Similarly, you can’t go wrong with things like coffee and tea or even hot cocoa. Your nursing staff will appreciate the mid-shift boost. Offer these items with promotional mugs, and use coffee or tea that can be made on an individual basis if need be to acknowledge the need to be flexible. Even offering “take-home” items like coffee boxes or even a coffee canister is a considerate way to say thanks.
With varying shifts, unpredictable break times, and potential interruptions, it is often better to have events on-site or off-site held when nurses are off the clock. These events can include a variety of activities that give nurses the opportunity to interact with one another in a new environment free of work pressure.
Promote fitness and activities by offering things like a sponsored yoga class complete with an imprinted yoga mat they can keep or something a little more exotic like ax throwing or white water rafting. All of these enhance team building and foster strong relationships apart from time spent on the job.
When the weather is nice, consider holding picnics when possible, and offering personalized gifts to your nursing staff that makes enjoying outdoor picnics easier. You can offer branded gifts from picnic baskets to backpacks or soft-sided coolers all while enjoying time away from the hospital or healthcare facility.
You don’t have to wait to give your nurses swag when you have an event. Offering surprise gifts from time to time shows them your appreciation and thoughtfulness.
Don’t give them just anything though. Think of items that would be useful to nurses.
During the winter or colder weather times, offer them items that would be nice to have, like a customized umbrella.
Personalized tumblers and travel mugs encourage nurses to stay both hydrated and energized on shift and surprising them with these items show your interest in their well-being and health.
Lunch boxes and totes offer a way for them to bring healthy lunches and snacks with them.
When Nurses’ Week comes around each year, show your team you care with promotional Nurses’ Week mugs.
The bottom line is to show your nursing staff that you put thought into the things you are giving them. Think about your staff, their personalities, and the things they would enjoy. Offer those items first.
Finally, although it is great to tell everyone “thank you” from time to time, there will be members of your staff who stand out. Those individuals deserve recognition of their own.
There are several types of awards you can offer, from the Nurse of the Year to monthly and quarterly awards. Choose personalized awards that show true appreciation and will last. Don’t just hand the award to your nurses, but make a big deal out of it with a celebration. Include branded balloons, special treats, and time for congratulations.
Because nursing is a twenty-four hour a day operation, be sure to spread the love and celebrations between shifts. Offer an opportunity for everyone to celebrate regardless of what hours they work.
Even for those nurses who did not win awards, this is a great time to offer swag bags filled with promotional items that will be useful to your staff. While you are acknowledging exceptional performance, be sure to remind everyone else that they matter and are appreciated as well.
Your nursing staff is one of the most valuable parts of your hospital or healthcare facility operations. Be sure to thank them often with food and surprise celebrations to sustain them, activities to unite them, useful items to show appreciation, and awards to acknowledge greatness. You’ll have happier patients, a positive work environment, and a team that is as proud of you as you are of them.