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How do you celebrate Nurses Week?

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National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
ANA Nursing World

What are you doing for National Nurses Week? Any special plans, activities or traditions? I know that every hospital I’ve ever known and ever hospital I’ve ever worked for usually has some festivities planned no matter how great or small. Anything from a single day to activities that can span the entire 7 days that come with a full-fledged ‘program of events’.

I used to think that the bigger the facility the bigger the ‘event’, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason. I know some small offices put on quite a ‘show’ for their nursing staff, and I’ve heard of and have known a couple large organizations that almost forget it exists.

Some of the things I’ve witnessed and been a part of include free meals (that can vary from one meal to daily meals for the week), raffles for prizes (scrub uniforms, shoes, equipment, etc.), large extravagant presentations and conferences, free t-shirts (and other paraphernalia), and raffle drawings for free time off (personal time). The list is endless.

I find that when there are nurses behind the driving force for the activities, they tend to be more ‘worth it’ and a heck of a lot more entertaining.

Aside from the almost ‘expected’ activities from facilities that ‘employee’ nurses, what do you do personally (speaking to fellow nurses)? I mean this is a full week to celebrate anything and everything that you do as a nurse and all that in encompasses. You have to do something special don’t you?

Unfortunately I tend to think most of us don’t do a whole lot for ourselves. Some nurses forget the event even exists! Hard to believe isn’t it? Most nurses will answer by saying, “there is something going on at work.”

I’m not sure why, but we nurses spend 365 days a year working our butts off, pouring our hearts, our blood, our sweat and our tears into this amazing profession and most of the time all we want is a little recognition for a job well done. I know that most of us sure do feel unappreciated at times (some more than others). We may not say it out loud, but we love when someone validates our efforts – yet we rarely get it.


Here’s the irony. We actually have an entire week dedicated to us and our awesome profession. The one time of the year we can shine and soak up some much needed attention from the public – yet we don’t take advantage of the nationally recognized event?

Maybe it’s due to the fact that most of us our humble. I’m not sure.

I think I’ve said this more than once….

We nurses are funny bunch aren’t we.

Happy national Nurses week to all my fellow warriors out there. You deserve the recognition. Thank you for all that you do.

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Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).

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6 Responses to How do you celebrate Nurses Week?

  1. Janice

    One hospital I worked for turned it into “Hospital Week” and did stuff for the whole hospital, so in actuality, the nurses did not get a week or a day of their own. Respiratory had their week, and Radiology had theirs, but nurses lost theirs to the masses.

  2. yalonda

    The nursing home I work at has done absolutely nothing for the nurses, this is the second year in a row. People wonder why nurses feel so unappreciated!!! Because its like we don’t ever get a thank you…….

  3. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Janice Yeah, I’ve worked in facilities that have done that. A shame really.

    @Yalonda There is no excuse for that. Well we appreciate your hard work.

  4. Mary

    Our hospital does the same as Janice’s: the whole week is Hospital week. There is an hour long “Celebration” of nurses on Wednesday of the week where there is some sweets. I have worked at places where you are given T-shirts, lunches, gift cards, etc. This is the worst…..

  5. Dawn Hadland

    The hospital I worked at for 8 years after graduation had a much loved VP of Nursing who would save up all of her honorariums for speaking and then for Nurses’ day she would give it to admin and they would buy gifts for the nurses. They usually turned out to be duds – clocks that would die after a month, but some were good. When she retired, the gifts “retired” as well. We went from getting individual gifts to getting a candy basket for the unit, which the residents would attack unless we hid it in the lounge!

  6. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @Mary that’s a shame

    @Dawn well at least you got to enjoy the personalized gifts for a short time!