Ah, Nurses Week.
Or should I say Hospital Week? Because it seems some facilities have renamed the week to include all patient care staff, and quite a few nurses are not happy about sharing the spotlight. I won’t even bring up what day shift gets that night shift does not. (Let the moaning begin…)
I have a few thoughts about this year’s Nurses Week, which starts on May 6th and ends May 12th.
Personal thoughts on Nurses Week 2013
1. Appreciation for nurses is not limited to one week.
There are many reasons nursing has long been considered one of the most trustworthy professions. Friends, families of patients and even a few doctors have expressed appreciation to me and other nurses for our service and compassion. We all know that the appreciation expressed from these private sources is so much better than receiving doodads with nursing logos on them one week out of the year. (Although some good pens are always welcomed!) Enjoy the appreciation year-round.
2. Nurses are not islands.
Some home health or military nurses may beg to differ–providing patient care outside comfortable hospital or clinic walls may feel like you’ve been stranded on an island. But for most of us, we have doctors, other nurses, ancillary personnel, dietary staff, lactation staff, technicians and many others who contribute to patient care.
We can tell a lot about our motivations by what peeves us. If you’re miffed about not being special enough for a “just nurses” week, reevaluate your perspective. We would need all 52 weeks to celebrate each category of healthcare staff, and everyone who works in healthcare deserves appreciation!
Can we be willing to share our week in recognition that we cannot produce effective patient care on our own? Absolutely.
3. Nurses are the best encouragers of nurses.
Patient care, strict regulations, poor management and overtime hours frequently drain our inner tanks of stamina. We often feel underappreciated, understaffed and over-criticized. When a facility schedules activities and promotions in appreciation for their employees, pleasing everyone is impossible…and some staff seem to make sure everyone knows that.
So let’s get real. Is this really our employers’ problem? Or is it our problem? Could we celebrate Nurses Week by putting away discontent, frustration and anger for six days? Could we put aside our differences and celebrate our profession in spite of its imperfections?
Only nurses can really understand how nurses should be celebrated. So let’s make it happen. I encourage every nurse to show appreciation to at least two other coworkers during Nurses Week. Write short notes. Cover a public wall or door in paper and hang a pen there to encourage nurses to leave notes of thanks and encouragement to coworkers (nurses or otherwise). Get together with a few shift coworkers to plan a potluck, or arrange to have a brief party on night shift to celebrate being a team.
Make your Nurses Week how you want it to be.
How are you celebrating Nurses Week? How can you improve Nurses Week for your own coworkers? Tell us in the comments!