Three nurses and doctors celebrating by clapping their hands

15 Ways to Celebrate Nurses Week

March 20, 2024

National Nurses Week is fast approaching! It's time to start preparing your festivities for this special week. Get started with these 12 ideas.

Nurses play a vital role in healthcare facilities and in our communities. They are the frontline heroes of every healthcare organization, ensuring patients get the proper care and treatment they need, and often supporting patients through difficult times in their lives.

What better time to recognize their efforts than during Nurses Week? This year, make Nurses Week truly special for your nursing team by organizing a week full of activities and heartfelt gestures. Show your nurses who consistently go above and beyond that they are a valuable part of your team and organization.

In this blog post, we'll explore the significance of Nurses Week and 15 creative ways to make Nurses Week truly special.

Nurses Week Overview

National Nurses Week, observed from May 6th to May 12th, is an annual celebration dedicated to honoring the tireless efforts and contributions of nurses worldwide, and the vital role they play in our healthcare system.

This commemorative week serves as a reminder of the resilience, compassion, and dedication exhibited by nurses. During this week, healthcare facilities, communities, and individuals come together to show their appreciation for these frontline heroes.

The Significance of Nurses Week

Given the recent adversity nurses faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating Nurses Week is more important than ever before. Many healthcare facilities have reported they are experiencing major repercussions from the hardships nurses faced during the pandemic. In fact, research by NSi found the average hospital has experience 100.5% turnover rates in the past five years (since the pandemic started). 

Nurses Week provides employers with the perfect opportunity to combat this costly issue. One of the most effective ways to improve job satisfaction and tackle turnover is through genuine recognition and gratitude. Why? Because when employees feel valued, seen, and appreciated, they are more likely to be more satisfied by their job and engaged with their work. And research backs this up:

  • Recognized are employees are nearly 6x times more likely to stay at their jobs (Zippia).
  • Recognition increased employee engagement, productivity, and performance by 14% (Deloitte).
  • 66% of people in highly recognized teams agree that they trust their everyday team members (Gallup).

Beyond the tangible benefits of recognition, celebrating Nurses Week is a great way to say 'thank you' to your nurses for all that they do day in and day out for their patients and your organization.

15 Ways to Celebrate Nurse Week

Need a few ideas on how to celebrate your team during Nurses Week? Here are 15 ideas to help you recognize your team in a meaningful way.

  1. Organize Appreciation Events: Host a themed luncheon, breakfast, or dinner to honor nurses. Consider incorporating activities, awards, or speeches to highlight their achievements and contributions.
  2. Support Their Wellbeing: Nurses work tirelessly on their feet all day. Support your team by gifting them a certificate to a spa, a gym membership subscription, or even an at-home spa care package to help promote mental and physical wellbeing. 
  3. Personalized Thank You Notes: Encourage colleagues, patients, and their families to write personalized thank you notes expressing their gratitude for individual nurses and pass them out throughout the week.
  4. Launch a Recognition Program: Establish recognition programs where outstanding nurses are acknowledged regularly for their exceptional performance and dedication.
  5. Provide a Gift of Choice or Gift Card: Provide small gifts or tokens of appreciation, such as gift cards, custom merchandise, or branded apparel, to show gratitude.
  6. Social Media Campaigns: Launch social media campaigns highlighting individual nurses' stories, achievements, and contributions to inspire others and raise awareness about their invaluable work.
  7. Donate on Their Behalf: Show your appreciation for nurses while giving back to the community by donating during Nurses Week. For instance, the ANA hosts a donation in honor of Nurses Week whose funds support the advancement of the nursing profession. You can even use a recognition platform like Inspirus Connects where your nurses can select a charity of choice to donate to.
  8. Participate in Community Service: Coming together to support your local community is a great way to foster camaraderie. Organize volunteer opportunities for nurses, such as participating in blood drives or community clean-up events.
  9. Cater Lunch with Food Trucks: Treat nurses to a fun lunch. Organize local food trucks to stop by during lunch for a free lunch for your nurses.
  10. Surprise Them with a Sweet Treat: Arrange for a surprise delivery of sweets like cupcakes, cookies, or gourmet chocolates to brighten up their day. 
  11. Hand Out Branded Merchandise: Distribute branded merchandise like t-shirts, water bottles, or pens as a practical and memorable tokens of appreciation.
  12. Host an Awards Ceremony: Want to recognize nurses that go above and beyond? Organize an award ceremony to recognize outstanding nurses in different categories, such as leadership, innovation, and patient care excellence.
  13. Have Flowers Delivered: Brighten your nurses week with a fresh bouquet of flowers. Arrange for fresh flowers to nurses' workstations or homes as a traditional yet meaningful gesture of appreciation.
  14. Give Nurses a Bonus: Consider providing a monetary bonuses or incentives as a tangible way to acknowledge your teams hard work and dedication during Nurses Week.
  15. Professional Development Opportunities: Provide an opportunity to attend a workshop, conference, or certifications to support your nurses ongoing learning and career advancement, and to show you are invested in their career.

Keep in mind, though, as you are scheduling various activities for your staff to include your overnight nursing team. Make sure you include them in activities or replicate the activities specifically for the overnight staff so that they aren’t excluded from all the fun.

Nurses Week Agenda Sample

Do you want to plan multiple activities throughout Nurses Week? We’ve got you covered! With Nurses Week taking place from May 6th to the 12th, consider surprising your staff with one fun activity each day.

This is an example of how you could plan out Nurses Week:

  • May 6: Kick-off breakfast with inspiring speeches and team-building activities. Social media campaign highlighting nurses' stories of resilience, compassion, and dedication.
  • May 7: Pass out letters from the leadership team, patients, and fellow colleagues to brighten your team’s mood and show them how appreciated they are.
  • May 8: Host a luncheon and awards ceremony to celebrate the team’s outstanding performance and highlight nurses that go above and beyond. 
  • May 9: Continuing education workshops focused on specialized nursing skills and knowledge enhancement. 
  • May 10: Organize a team building activity for the nurse team to participate in like trivia, scavenger hunt, a nursing “Olympics,” or a community outreach initiative.
  • May 11: Gift distribution day with personalized tokens of appreciation for each nurse. 
  • May 12: Close out Nurses Week with a video montage from supervisors and leadership thanking the nursing team for unwavering hard work and dedication. Add a personal touch by having a few nurses say a few words about their fellow colleagues.

Best Practices for Celebrating Nurses Week

Celebrating Nurses Week goes beyond simply saying "thank you." It's about genuinely recognizing the challenges nurses face daily and showing appreciation for their continuous dedication to providing excellent care for patients and their families. 

Here are a few pointers to help you make this week extra meaningful for your team:

Personalized Recognition

Personalization is the key to making your Nurses Week celebrations meaningful. Tailor your recognition efforts to acknowledge the unique achievements and contributions of individual nurses. Whether through personalized notes or messages, awards, or spotlighting nurses that go above and beyond, personalized recognition can foster a sense of value and appreciation.

Flexibility and Accommodations

As you know, nurses have diverse schedules and responsibilities. As you plan out your Nurses Week festivities, make sure to keep in mind your nurses' varying schedules. Find ways to celebrate your entire staff regardless of their schedule. Tangible tokens of appreciation such as merchandise, gift cards, self-care packages, and hand-written thank you notes are a great way to ensure your celebration is inclusive.

Promote Peer Recognition

Peer recognition is equally important to receiving recognition from a superior or leadership. Encourage colleagues, patients, and their families to participate in recognizing your nursing team's contributions to the organization. To maximize participation, provide them with accessible ways to honor team members. For instance, you can leave blank thank you cards in the break room or pass around cards to write in.

Express Gratitude Authentically

Above all, it's most important that you express gratitude to your team authentically and sincerely. A heartfelt thank you, coupled with genuine gestures of appreciation, goes a long way in recognizing and honoring the invaluable contributions of your nursing team.

Make Nurses Week Meaningful for Your Team

Don't miss this opportunity to express our gratitude and admiration for the remarkable individuals who dedicate their lives to caring for others. By implementing thoughtful and creative ways to celebrate your team, you can express your genuine gratitude for all that they do, uplift their spirits, and boost job satisfaction.

Looking for a way to enhance Nurses Week for your team? A digital recognition program like Inspirus Celebrates can make Nurses Week extra special for your team. We can create a tailored recognition program perfect for celebrating your nursing team. Learn more about our Nurses Week program.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you celebrate Nurses Week?

From passing out letters to giving gift cards to hosting awards, there are an unlimited number of ways you can celebrate Nurses Week. The key to celebrating this annual event is to organize gifts or activities that will resonate with your team.

What week is Nurse Appreciation Week?

Nurses Week is an annual event that’s celebrated from May 6th to May 12th.

What is the theme for Nurses Week 2024? 

The 2024 theme for Nurses Week is “nurses make the difference.” The American Nurse Association selected this theme to pay tribute to the important role of nurses and the impact they have on patients.