Advice To Management On The Occasion Of Nurses Week

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Happy National Nurses Week, ModernNurse readers!

We know your jobs are hard ones. You get all of the kicks and none of the kisses, and you’re responsible for maintaining the smooth operation of hospitals in the face of an agitated mob of nurses and doctors, many of whom can’t remember the last time their feet didn’t hurt.

Nurses Week is one of the few times throughout the year that you can show us all how much you depend on us. And I have a few ideas for making this Nurses Week not only memorable, but meaningful…

I don’t need another lanyard, ID holder or tote bag with the hospital’s name on it. Instead, consider handing out pens. You can get ’em cheap in bulk, and those gel ones are great to chart with. If you’re really wanting to put your imprint on something, why not those little foldable umbrellas? We could keep ’em in our lockers for when it starts to rain 10 minutes before we get off work. Itty-bitty flashlights are more useful than you can imagine and actually fit on a keychain.

Nor do I need, Heaven knows, another freaking donut or cinnamon roll. You guys insist on passing out food every year during The Week, and it’s always sugary stuff and sodas. This year, could we have a plate of healthy sandwiches or a couple of cheap pizzas? How ’bout some of those breakfast burritos the cafeteria makes, delivered with decent coffee some morning? That sort of little touch would be especially welcome late at night and on weekends, when, at many hospitals, nothing’s open but the vending machines.

Finally, I would like to hear more than once a decade that I’m doing a good job. Telling me that I’ve done well in the face of whatever odds costs nothing, and it’s something I don’t hear all that often. If you can’t think of something I’ve knocked out of the ballpark lately, at least compliment my sense of humor or my intelligence.

Yeah, all of these suggestions will take a little more time and thought than I’ve seen you put into Nurses Week for the last few years. It will be worth it, I promise—there will be one year when your nurses won’t snort, roll their eyes and toss your lanyard in the trash. Please consider treating your yearly thank-you as more than an afterthought.

Thoughts? Share in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. No matter what we do, in nursing management, it is never enough. I have a very small budget for staff recognition and spend thousands of dollars of my own money annually on small gifts, gift cards, individual thank you cards, celebrations like ice cream socials, pizza parties etc., for my staff with rarely an acknowledgement. It is disheartening. Articles like this fuel that mentality. Most of us do reach out to personally share patient acknowledgement and other words of praise for staff as well.

  2. I have been a nurse for 30+ years and I would like to say it is what you make it. What happened this year where I work was kind of sad. Everything was around the day shift. Yonly got the sugary food drinks if you came in early for pm shift. Nothing on nocs, if you are full time you got a secret gift, not to tell part time or on call nurses about. Which I think is sad because many of our part time and on call work more hours than the full time. They also cover all shifts not just there’s. But we are in a profession that helping and easing pain and suffering should be number one. A thank to me is in a parents smile, a sposes thank you and seeing a patient breathing easy , sleeping without pain and finally going home.

  3. Still working @59 (just turned)their intentions are good,hoping will stay that way my vibes telling me so… like working with most of them…always polite,smiling,happy people! All the power and support they could get from most of the little people from the unit!

  4. I side – tracked my education career to include obtaining a BSN on my way to obtain a Masters in Hospital Administration. Could not think of a better way to understand hospital people. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. I may not have been the greatest nurse, but a number of my associates tell me I was a great hospital CEO… they said I understood them. I loved nursing, nurses (married one) and being a nurse. Still have my RN license at age 88 !

  5. What a downer of an article. Just remember that many of us that work in management worked as bedside nurses for years and are usually busting our hump to make life better and contrary to popular opinion not worse for nurses. Typically we are doing the best we can with what little money we have and we never seem to make people happy. How about for once just be grateful instead of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    • Im so sorry, but I have NEVER witnessed MANAGEMENT do anything for their nurses! Just the BARE MINIMUM! Its sad, but true…..The Unit Managers set the tone for the rest of us, supposedly, like nurses do for their patients. Ever wonder WHY hospitals/facilities can’t seem to keep nurses? I have and I know why!

    • Agree with you Mike C! Every manager I know took the job because they wanted to help the staff and make a difference. Managers are squeezed from all sides and too often when we do something for the staff we hear complaints. Brought pizza in at night….why wasn’t it Chinese food! Provided pens and post it notes…..why was it those pens and not the fancy ones. On call every weekend and come in when called…..why didn’t you come sooner. We try over and over but too often we hear complaints because it is not perfect. It is a very hard spot to be in.

  6. My employer did Nothing for the 3000plus Nurses it employs for Nurses week. It did however, send out messages from all the CEOs, regarding hospital week. I feel so appreciated.

  7. I’m celebrating by taking care of myself this wk.. a facial , afternoon nap , less work & more fun w/ my special guy!!
    After 60 yrs I deserve it.
    Alice Dexter,RN, CRNA(ret.)
    1957 graduate!!


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