Happy Nurses' Week! In any given year, nurses will have their share of bad days. This stress can affect their attitudes, their performance, and your ability to retain them. Take a look at some of these creative ideas below used in Nurses' Week past. Incorporate them as last-minute ideas this year or stash them away for the future.
Hot off the press
Jennifer Clarke, director of education at Madison County Hospital in London, OH, says her former facility collected compliments about nurses from customer surveys and letters and printed them. "[We] put them into a daily newspaper format and delivered a new set to every unit each day of Nurses' Week. They loved them."
The gift of giving
Nurses at Transylvania Community Hospital in Brevard, NC, attend an event in their honor every year. Llyn Shook, staff education coordinator at Transylvania, says the celebration includes plenty of gifts and food. Shook and her committee distribute items such as pocket calculators, clipboards, and umbrellas, which were a favorite among staff. Employees also place their names in a basket for door-prize drawings when they arrive.
Everyone loves a free massage
Jeanna Short, RN, MSN, ARNP, director of education, says her planning committee turned their educational center into a day spa. They used green turf, filled several wooden tubs with small white balloons as "bubbles," and placed large plants around the room as door prizes.
Short says the biggest attractions at the spa were the massage stations. Massage students from the local junior college and several reflexology/massage therapy businesses provided free massages for several hours. "The president of our hospital even showed up when he heard there were free massages," says Short.
Viva Las Vegas
All of the nurse managers at Lincoln Medical Center in Lincoln County, NC, plan a nurse's day celebration. Once they've agreed on a theme, they plan their decorations. Joyce Estes, RN, MSN, director of educational services at the hospital says one year the committee planned a Las Vegas extravaganza. Estes says they rented a roulette wheel and a blackjack table, and a colleague's friend did Elvis impressions. The nurses came down in shifts for breakfast and afternoon snacks. "We collected prizes donated from community businesses, such as certificates to nail spas, restaurants, and hair salons. Our gifts were usually bags, sports bottles, or something that was relatively inexpensive to purchase in bulk and customize," says Estes. Managers and supervisors only paid for cakes used in a cake walk (a southern game similar to musical chairs in which cakes are the prizes). "It was so much fun!" says Estes.
Fun with food!
At Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin, TN, nursing leadership hosts an all-day breakfast and lunch buffet each year. "Everyone looks forward to the specialty dishes that each planner brings," says Sue Riggle, BSN, ONC, nurse educator at Sumner Regional. "In order to provide for the night shift, part of the leadership team comes in the early morning [5 a.m.] and prepares breakfast. The rest of us come in later." Riggle says the buffet is set up in a large conference room where they display information on hospitalwide and unit-specific projects that nurses accomplished the past year. They include signs detailing various achievements so nurses see how their hard work affects the facility, while learning about other nursing units' projects. Leadership staff stay the entire day to greet and talk with the staff and give them their nurses' day gifts that range from polo shirts to canvas briefcases, says Riggle. "The day is fun and personal as it is an act of love and appreciation for our peers," she adds.