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Celebrating Nurses Week: 20 Fun Ideas to Honor Your Team

March 25, 2024

Are you looking for a fun way to celebrate National Nurses Week? Here are 20 fun ideas that will make your team feel truly special and appreciated.

If you haven't marked you calendars yet, Nurses Week is coming up quick. This commemorative week, observed from May 6th to May 12th, is a time to recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions of nurses to our healthcare system. 

From their tireless dedication to their compassionate care, nurses play a vital role in keeping our communities healthy and safe. And there is no better way to celebrate them than with a few meaningful activities during Nurses Week. In this blog post, we explore twenty fun and memorable ways you can celebrate your nursing team.

What is Nurses Week?

National Nurses Week is an annually recognized event dedicated to honoring the hard work and invaluable contributions of nurses worldwide. During this commemorative week, employers and colleagues come together to honor and recognize nurses' unwavering commitment to providing excellent patient care.

Why Celebrating Nurses Week is Important

A recent study by NSI found that the average hospital has turned over 100.5% of its staff within the last five years. With the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacting healthcare worker's wellbeing, this statistic doesn't come as a surprise. 

Throughout the pandemic, nurses found themselves facing unprecedented challenges, with their roles evolving rapidly in response to the crisis. As a result, their wellbeing and mental health have been significantly affected, contributing to heightened turnover rates withing the healthcare sector.

And this industry-wide challenge is not without its costs. Studies show that the average cost of replacing a mid-level nurse amounts to as much as 150% of their annual salary. The expenses incurred from recruiting, interviewing, and training new hires can add up quickly, burdening employers with significant turnover costs.

Nurses Week presents a valuable opportunity for employers to address this by expressing gratitude for their nursing staff's hard work, sacrifices, and resiliency. After all, recognition is one of the most effective ways to combat turnover. In fact, studies show that recognized employees are nearly 6x times more likely to stay at their organization and 53% of employees say they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss.

How to Celebrate Nurses Week

Nurses Week provides employers with a great opportunity to go above and beyond in recognizing the unwavering commitment and hard work of nursing professions. Every day, nurses selflessly care for patients (and their families), often going the extra mile to provide them with the compassion and dedication they need.

This designated week serves as a great reminder for employers, and even colleagues, to express their gratitude and appreciation for their hard working nurses. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can celebrate Nurses Week and say 'thank you' to your team in a meaningful way.

  • Organize activities or events. Plan a series of activities or events throughout the week to bring nurses together in a spirit of camaraderie and appreciation.
  • Celebrate with awards or certificates. Honor your nurses by celebrating their achievements and contributions with a memorable keepsake.
  • Say thank you with meaningful notes and gifts. Arrange for the staff, patients, and nurses' families to provide a personalized notes and add a gift to give the week a personal touch.

Remember, though, celebrating Nurses Week shouldn't solely be the responsibility of HR. Engage leadership, management, colleagues, and nurses' families in the festivities to make the celebrations more impactful. Often times, these personal touches are what make celebrations truly memorable and meaningful.

20 Fun Ideas to Celebrate Your Nurses

1. Host a Nurse Themed Olympics

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Organize an “Olympics” with nursing-themed games and challenges, such as bed-making relays, IV pole obstacle courses, or medical trivia contests. Offer prizes or awards for winners to add to the competitive spirit.

2. Create a Gratitude Wall

Set up a space where patients and colleagues can write notes of appreciation for nurses to read throughout the week. Make sure it’s in a prominent location where it can be easily accessed and viewed by the nurses.

3. Cater Lunch for Your Team

Food always brings people together, so organize a special meal to show appreciation for nurses' hard work. You can show your gratitude to your team by catering a lunch for the staff or organizing volunteers to bring in a nice meal.

4. Organize Handwritten Letters from Peers

Encourage colleagues to write handwritten letters expressing gratitude and appreciation for their fellow nurses' dedication and hard work leading up to Nurses Week. To increase participation, provide stationery, envelopes, and postage stamps for nurses to easily write and send their letters.

5. Create a Video Montage

Compile video messages from patients, colleagues, and community members expressing their gratitude and appreciation for nurses' dedication and care.

6. Arrange Free Professional Development Workshops

Empower nurses to advance their skills and knowledge with professional development opportunities such as continuing education sessions, workshops, and seminars. These opportunities support nurses' career growth and advancement and show that you are invested in their career and future.

7. Host a Talent Show

Want to lighten the mood during Nurses Week? Organize a talent show! Your nursing staff can showcase their hidden talents, strengthening their bonds and uplifting the atmosphere. At the end of the talent show, have everyone vote on their favorite – or top three – performances and award the winners with a nice gift.

8. Pass out Gift Cards

Show appreciation for nurses' hard work and dedication by distributing gift cards or vouchers for shopping, dining, or entertainment. You can use a digital recognition program (like Inspirus Connects!) that allows your nurses to select a gift card of choice within an allotted budget range. A gift card allows them to treat themselves to something special or get a gift that they will actually enjoy and use.

9. Create Personalized Gift Baskets

Put together gift baskets filled with goodies tailored to each nurse's interests and preferences. Customize each gift basket with individualized touches such as handwritten notes, personalized labels, or decorative accents.

10. Implement a Peer Recognition Program

There’s no better time to launch a peer recognition program than during a big celebration. Announce and launch a formal recognition program during Nurses Week to foster and regularly acknowledge nurses' achievements and milestones. If it’s through a digital platform, kick off the program by awarding your staff with a meaningful message and gift.

11. Create Superlatives for the Nurses

Want a fun way to celebrate your nurses in a way that also incorporates them? Organize superlatives for your nursing team! Ask your nurse team for their thoughts on meaningful and relevant superlative categories that suit your team well. Categories could include "Most Compassionate Caregiver," "Team Player of the Year," or "Innovator of Excellence," celebrating the diverse talents and strengths within the nursing team.

A week or two before Nurses Week, send a survey to the nursing team and have them nominate a colleague for each category. You can then announce them during Nurses Week!

12. Coordinate a Volunteer Day

Give back to the community by organizing a volunteer day where nurses can participate in service projects together. Collaborate with a local nonprofit organization or community service group to identify a meaningful volunteer opportunity aligned with your nurses’ interests and skills.

To boost participation, organize the logistical arrangements, such as transportation, scheduling, and necessary supplies, to make it easy for employees to join.

13. Host an Awards Ceremony

Recognize your outstanding nurses with fun and meaningful awards. You can host an awards ceremony to celebrate your nurses or each announce the award recipients in your company's intranet. Categories could include "Most Compassionate Caregiver" or "Innovator of the Year."

14. Host a Guest Speaker Event

Invite a motivational speaker, healthcare leader, or inspirational figure to share insights, stories, and words of encouragement with nurses to inspire and uplift them. Collaborate with leaders to identify topics or themes that would be most impactful and relevant for the guest speaker to address.

15. Provide Branded T-Shirts

Hand out branded t-shirts featuring the hospital logo or 2024 Nurses Week theme as a memorable keepsake of appreciation. If you’re hosting an event during Nurses Week, consider handing out the t-shirts before or after the ceremony to make the event extra special.

Plus, passing out matching t-shirt provides a great photo opportunity for your company. Your marketing team can share your Nurses Week celebrations on social media with a picture of the matching t-shirts to cultivate a strong brand presence and showcase your strong organizational culture.

16. Offer Wellness Resources

With burnout and turnover on the rise, it’s essential you invest in your nurses’ wellbeing to proactively combat and prevent these issues. Provide access to a range of wellness resources tailored to nurses' needs, including counseling services, gym memberships, stress management workshops, and mindfulness apps.

These resources support nurses' mental and emotional well-being, equipping them with tools and strategies to navigate the challenges of their demanding profession and maintain overall wellness.

17. Get Flowers Delivered

Brighten nurses' days by arranging for flowers to be delivered to their workstations or homes during Nurses Week. Whether it's a vibrant bouquet or a thoughtful arrangement, these floral gestures convey appreciation and gratitude for nurses' tireless dedication and compassionate care.

18. Invest in an Employee Concierge Provider

Consider partnering with an employee concierge service like Sodexo Circles to provide personalized assistance and support to your nurses. These services can help with tasks like scheduling appointments, running errands, or arranging travel plans, allowing nurses to focus on their work and maintain a better work-life balance.

19. Highlight Nurses on Social Media

Partner with your company’s social media team to spotlight individual nurses or share stories of their impact and dedication throughout Nurses Week.

Of course, make sure to get permission from the nurses before posting about them across your organization’s social media accounts and consider working with them to get copy for the social media post.

20. Surprise Them with a Treat

Make Nurses Week special for your team by surprising your nurses with a new coffee station or providing snacks and sweet treats for your team to enjoy in the break room throughout the week. This is a small yet effective way you can show your appreciation for your nurses and make the week feel extra special.

Tying It Together

Nurses Week is a time to show gratitude and support for the incredible work nurses do every day. Whether through organized events and activities or simple acts of kindness and gratitude, there are countless ways you can express your gratitude to your nurses for the hard work and dedication.

Looking for a way to make Nurses Week meaningful and memorable for your team? Inspirus provides a digital recognition program perfect for celebrating your team. With over 2,500 popular brands, we can create a recognition program that allows your employees to select a gift of choice from budget-aligned options across merch, gift cards, charitable giving, and more. Learn more about our recognition programs.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I make Nurses Week fun? 

To make Nurses Week fun, consider arranging team-building activities, wellness activities, passing out gift baskets, or planning a fun outing or picnic. Add personal touches throughout the week, such as hanging out handwritten notes or sending an appreciative video from the leadership team, to make the week memorable for your team.

How do you honor nurses on Nurses Week?

Honoring nurses during Nurses Week can involve numerous gestures, such as hosting a banquet or appreciation luncheon, presenting awards for outstanding performance or exemplary service, or providing personalized thank-you cards or certificates.