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Simple ways for nurses to pay tribute to parents and parenting

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Parents’ Day is more of an “observance” than an actual holiday, and you may not even have heard of it, as it’s only been around since 1994. It was established by a U.S. congressional resolution during Bill Clinton’s presidency as a day for “recognizing, uplifting and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.” It’s celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of July, so this year it falls on July 24.

Hospitals, clinics and healthcare facilities don’t generally tend to promote or organize events around Parents’ Day, but that’s okay. You can make it what you want it to be, depending on how you feel about the parents in your life.

Of course you should pay tribute to your own parents, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them in your life. After all, they probably supported you in some way on your journey to become a nurse. So, perhaps take them out for dinner or make dinner for them. Pay them a visit if they’re elderly. Give them a phone call or send them a little gift if they live far away. If your parents have passed away, perhaps there’s someone in your life who is or has been a parent figure to you. Or maybe you know a co-worker who is a great parent. Consider sending a card, a gift, flowers, a cake…anything to let the parents in your life—whether they’re your biological parents or not—know that you appreciate the parenting role they’ve played in the lives of children.

If you’ll be working this Parents’ Day, consider heading to the maternity ward of your hospital on your break—perhaps with some co-workers in tow—to spread good cheer by wishing new parents the best as they enter the world of parenting. Perhaps visit the pediatric ward as well, and spend some time with children whose parents can’t be with them for whatever reasons.

You might want to suggest to your nursing administration folks that Parents’ Day would be an ideal time for the nursing department to adopt a foster child. If there are too many administrative hoops to jump through to do that, you could adopt a foster child with some of your co-workers. After all, there are many children in the world who don’t have parents.

If you’re a doer, why not consider starting a little Parents’ Day Committee in your hospital or healthcare facility? You can come up with ways to celebrate next year’s Parents’ Day—and you can keep it really simple. For example, you could have an awards ceremony at which you give an award to a nurse who is an exemplary parent. You could have a raffle, with the prize being a parents’ weekend away—with babysitting arranged, of course.

Parents’ Day doesn’t get the press that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day do. And that’s a bit unfortunate because it’s far more inclusive than either of those. It encompasses parents of both genders. It includes same-sex parents.

There are so many way to pay tribute to parents. Your imagination is the limit.

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Cynthia Dusseault

Cynthia Dusseault is a professional freelance writer with both a health and an education background. A former medical radiation technologist and elementary school teacher, she realized that no matter what she did, she was drawn to any task that involved writing, so she decided, over a decade ago, to write full-time. Since then, she has written for a variety of magazines and websites including Nursing PRN, National Review of Medicine, University Affairs, Your Health, Education Leaders Today, Today's Parent, Children's Playmate, WeightWatchers.ca and many more. She has written about topics such as asthma, genital herpes, circumcision, teleradiology, body art, learning disabilities and exercise trends, and she absolutely adores the fact that writing—particularly doing the research for the articles she writes—makes her a lifelong learner.
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