Nurses Month is approaching rapidly now. The tradition of Nurses Day (May 6) and Nurses Week (May 6-12) has expanded into a month-long celebration during the pandemic and it seems to be sticking. The official American Nurses Association theme for 2023 is You Make a Difference. There will be weekly focus areas during the May celebration of nurses. The focus areas are:
- May 1-7 : Self-Care
- May 8-14: Recognition
- May 15-21: Professional Development
- May 22-31: Community Engagement
Download your own copy of the ANA assets, templates and plans for Nurses Month 2023 to use in your own Nurses Month celebration.
Recognition is Priceless
Recognition is one of the focuses for the month. This one is near and dear to my heart as I firmly believe that the importance of recognition, acknowledgement, and validation is huge to developing a strong team, retaining staff, building morale, and using all of that so #YouMakeADifference!Patient outcomes depend on it. Nurses make a difference in someone’s life everyday has been my motto and the motto for TheNursingSite.com for decades!
Celebrating nurses should be an everyday occurrence, not just a day, a week. or a month. But that doesn’t mean we should snub even the smallest celebration. Over the years, I have learned that nurse managers are almost always the WORST at planning events and celebrations! Hell can and will freeze over if we wait for them to come up with an idea, much less implement it! They love a good party, but they cannot pan something to save their lives! Logo imprint companies have made a fortune off Nurses Week events! Can you even count the number of tote bags and/or water bottles you have received???? Well, we were taught it’s the thought that counts, but come on, let’s be honest, it stings! Nurses deserve something better! We put our lives on the line every shift, show up to cover when staffing is unbearable, don the most uncomfortable, god-awful PPE to fight a pandemic that has lingered on and on, and on! We lose ourselves in the battle for life-work balance, and have hundreds of hours of accrued time off we’re usually told we cannot possibly take. Then they say “Thank You” with another damned water bottle or something from those logo catalogs!
Appreciation is Essential
Obviously, they cannot give us adequate raises, and more PTO (we can’t use), or even better health care benefits or childcare help. But they can give us some recognition! A personal note denoting something we do or have done that makes a difference would let us know they actually SEE US and the things we do, or endure, or create and give us a heartfelt Thanks- #YouMakeADifference! Just a short note to give us each a unique example of how we contributed can go a long way to make us feel seen, recognized, acknowledged, and validated and APPRECIATED!!! It’s not difficult, but it will take some time — so start now! The ANA download (linked above) is filled with things you can do together with your staff, agency, facility, etc. to bring recognition to the nursing profession. But let’s take it down to the unit or department level and don’t wait for the manager to plan something! Make it happen.
Unique Thank You
I’ve taken the time to write out a list of sentiment/prompts to get them started. It’s listed along with some options for #printable cards, postcards and gift tags designed for #NursesWeek. They are all available in my Etsy shop (SimplyBlueHandmade). Give your manager a little nudge! The list of sentiment/prompts is included in the purchase of any of the .pdf file #printables. However, you can purchase the List for $2,download and print it, and leave it anonymously on your manager’s desk. Just maybe s/he will get the hint and give you something unique to be proud of. Use the list for yourself and give a few Thank Yous with a special note to your manager, your co-workers and colleagues to celebrate nursing together. DO something for you to make a difference!
Happy Nurses Month!