This year it is more important than ever to find ways to celebrate Nurses Week and other healthcare professional holidays for your staff and volunteers. Honoring Healthcare Heroes during nationally recognized observances isn’t just another item on your administrative to-do list; it can produce important results for your organization, like increased employee retention, improved patient outcomes, and a positive brand impression for your most important audience: your patients. First let’s take a minute to review all of the upcoming healthcare professional holidays where you have an opportunity to honor your team.
What are the nationally recognized healthcare professional celebrations?
Each year there are dozens of celebrations that honor healthcare heroes, from dental assistants to EMTs, patients and surgeons. Here is a list of some of the most prominent nationally recognized healthcare professional weeks in the United States:
- Patient Recognition Week (Feb. 1-7)
- Cardiovascular Professionals Week (Feb. 11-17)
- Healthcare HR Week (Mar. 11-17)
- National Patient Safety Awareness Week (Mar. 11-17)
- Health Information Professionals Week (Mar. 18-24)
- National Doctors’ Day (Mar. 30)
- Patient Access Week (Apr. 1-7)
- World Health Day (Apr. 7)
- National Healthcare Volunteer Week (Apr. 15-22)
- National Healthcare Decisions Day (Apr. 16)
- National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (Apr. 22-28)
- Patient Experience Week (Apr. 23-27)
- Administrative Professionals’ Day (Apr. 25)
- National Nurses Day (May 6)
- National Nurses Week (May 6-12)
- National Hospital Week (May 6-12)
- National Nursing Home Week (May 13-19)
- Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week (May 20 – 26)
- EMSC Day (May 23)
- National Nursing Assistant Week (June 10-17)
- National Career Nursing Assistants’ Day (June 10)
- Health Center Week (Aug. 12-18)
- Health Unit Coordinators Day (Aug. 23)
- National Assisted Living Week (Sept. 9-15)
- World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (Oct. 13)
- Medical Assistants Recognition Week (Oct. 15-19)
- Pharmacy Technician Day (Oct. 16)
- Medical Assistants Recognition Day (Oct. 17)
- Healthcare Quality Week (Oct. 21-27)
- Allied Health Professionals Week (Nov. 5-9)
What and when is Nurses Week?
Every year, National Nurses Week kicks off on May 6th. The celebration continues all week, culminating on May 12th – Florence Nightingale’s birthday, and International Nurses Day. The celebration has evolved over the years into a weeklong event; but International Nurses Day was first celebrated in 1965 by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) – a federation that, today, represents more than 27 million nurses worldwide. Considering the critical role that nurses have played in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the extra celebration and recognition is deserved this year more than ever.
What is the theme of Nurses Week?
Every year the International Council of Nurses chooses a theme for the week’s celebration. The 2020 theme was Nurses: A Voice to Lead – and in 2021, A Vision for Future Healthcare will build on that theme’s momentum. Nurses have spent the last year working under extremely trying conditions, but have shown continued commitment and dedication to their jobs. The future of healthcare, and ultimately patient’s access to care, will be tied to innovations in the field of nursing – making this theme extremely relevant and timely.
As May inches closer, if you have a nurse in your life, it’s time to prepare to make this year’s International Nurses Week an extra special celebration.
Why Should You Honor Celebrations Like Nurses Week?
Celebrating nurses week and other healthcare professional observations are more than just an item on your to-do list. These celebrations can help achieve significant organizational goals for your business. By taking time to honor your staff, you can:
- Increase employee happiness by making staff feel valued.
- Decrease recruitment costs by increasing employee retention.
- Improve the quality of future applicants by showing that you care for your employees.
- Improve patient outcomes through quality of care by creating a better work environment for your staff.
- Heighten the perception of your brand by showing that you care about your team members and the quality of care they provide.
Top Ways to Celebrate Healthcare Professionals
• Recognition Gifts. Consider giving specialty embroidered scrubs, lanyards, tech items like phone chargers or wireless ear buds, or a backpack or tote to formally thank each worker.
• Host a lunch or breakfast. Serving meals in re-useable to-go containers like lunch coolers or bento boxes will serve as a keepsake for your attendees and keep your event within all COVID-19 protocols.
• Decorate with signage. Show your visitors, patients, and staff members alike that you appreciate the contributions of healthcare heroes by covering your halls floor to ceiling with messages of thanks.
• Involve your patients. Order custom cards or other keepsakes like branded picture frames and have patients sign them with notes of gratitude.
• Involve the community. Nurses impact so many more people than the patients they see on a daily basis; they are a community resource that improves the quality of life and location for each one of its residents. Consider giving all patients and visitors yard signs, car magnets, or stickers to place on their cars
• Involve the staff. Each day assign a prominent staff member to do a coffee run throughout the halls with a coffee cart and branded keepsake coffee tumblers delivering to the nurses working during every shift
What are the Top Gifts for Nurses Week?
Options for self care.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses washed their hands almost 100 times and walked nearly 5 miles in a single 12-hour shift. It’s no surprise that nursing can be a stressful and physically demanding job, so providing ways for your nurse to practice self care can help them feel pampered both on and off the job.
Things like hand lotion, a back massager, or candles can help them relax after a long shift. A bluetooth speaker or wireless headphones lets them listen to their favorite music no matter where they are, or a quality journal can help them decompress and process what they see on the job.
Items they can take to the hospital or office.
To keep your nurse comfortable while they’re working, think about what they might like to have with them at the hospital. Nursing shifts are long and the hospital environment can change drastically depending on the time of the day.
Sweatshirts and comfortable socks can help your nurse adjust to changing temperatures, letting them add or remove layers when needed. Water bottles and coffee tumblers can keep them hydrated and caffeinated for the long shifts ahead. A bag can help them carry all their items to and from the hospital, and a fitness tracker can help them monitor exactly how far they walk each shift.
When all else fails, food always wins!
Hospital food can get tiring when you’re eating it day in and day out – and we all know snacks are a great way to keep energy levels up for the long shift. Consider creating a custom label or sticker to put on your nurses favorite snack to let them know how much you appreciate their hard work – or if packing homemade treats is more their style, think about a lunchbox or thermos that they can reuse time and time again.
Nurses across the country give so much of themselves everyday, and even more so with the fight against COVID-19. They have worked tirelessly on the frontlines to keep us all safe at home, so no matter how you choose to celebrate National Nurses Week – make sure the nurses in your life know exactly how much you appreciate everything they do for our communities every single day.