Nurses Week is a time every May (the 6th-12th) when nurses are recognized, typically through small tokens of appreciation like cups, water bottles, or gift certificates. But what do nurses really want (and need)? While nurses enjoy these presents, you could give them something truly valuable that will help make their lives easier. Discover what those gifts are below.
A new coffee mug is nice, but what nurses really want from you is realistic expectations. They can’t be saddled with a whole unit of sick patients and no support staff. Short-staffed units create stress and increase the chance of medical errors, so having PRN staff to cover shortages can help keep your full-time nurses happy.
Nurses also need the appropriate tools to do their job well. Medical records systems that are user-friendly and patient-centric are important. Nurses want to spend time with their patients, not fighting with computer software. Keeping the unit well stocked with supplies is also key. Nothing is more frustrating than needing a certain item and not being able to find it. This wastes time and energy, leading to frustration for both the patient and nurse.
Nurses want training for the specific unit and patient population too. Newly graduated nurses especially need extra time with mentors to make sure they are ready to perform the job to the best of their ability. Make sure your nurses are well versed in the specifics of their unit. Some healthcare systems now offer to pay for specialty certifications or bring in guest speakers during Nurses Week.
Your nursing staff also expect pay commensurate with their level of experience and the difficulty of their job. Those in critical care units and emergency departments often hold specialty certifications. Make sure they’re compensated for their time, knowledge, and skill expertise.
And last but not least, a simple thank you goes a long way. Recognize work well done and extend positive patient feedback whenever possible. It seems quick and simple, but it is often overlooked. This type of action develops a sense of appreciation and pride in nurses.
Time is a precious gift, and nurses understand this more than anyone. They want time to perform their tasks safely and effectively while being able to spend time with those patients who need it the most: new mothers, the mentally ill, and the terminally ill. Having time to sit down with a patient and hold their hand can make a positive impact on both the patient and the nurse.
But nurses need time away from patients too. They have their own families and life demands. Give them time off and approve vacations. Intrigma’s scheduling software allows transparency, which helps nurses in the same unit plan vacations so requests don’t overlap. This is one simple way you can keep your nurses satisfied and reduce turnover throughout the whole year, not just during Nurses Week.
It’s worth repeating: Nurses are people too. They have families that need them as much as your unit does. As often as possible, limit overtime. While sometimes overtime is unavoidable, consistently having too little staff and forcing nurses to work extra shifts is a big dissatisfier.
When they are on the job, allow nurses time to check in with family. Ensure that a nurse manager sees to it that each nurse gets (and actually takes) their allotted breaks. Your nursing schedule should include a lunch break and a couple of 15-minute breaks during the day. This allows nurses to step away from the unit, catch their breath and make a call home.
Flexible scheduling is one of the biggest requests nurses have to achieve work-life balance. Allowing your nurses to trade or swap shifts with short notice is one way to show respect. Life happens, even after the schedule is posted!
Also, set some rules in the schedule to establish consistency, and allow the schedule to work for nurses. For example, with Intrigma’s Efficient Scheduler for Nurses, you can set work hour requirements and seniority rules. Scheduling software that allows flexibility in this manner allows nurses to balance work and life demands, thus reducing call-offs. This, in turn, creates less scheduling work for you.
The last piece of the puzzle is continuing education – nurses must have it. Allow them to complete continuing education while at work. During Nurses Week, give them a list of free CEUs and allow them time during the week to gain some education and training. Paying professional organization dues gives nurses access to free continuing education, and it shows your nurses that their knowledge, training, and education is one of your top
Make a difference now
Nursing is one of the most selfless and noble careers out there, and while you should always care for your staff, you have a prime opportunity to show your appreciation in meaningful ways during Nurses Week. One of the most valuable ways to give thanks to nurses is to optimize their schedule. Learn more about how Intrigma’s scheduling software can help you achieve this. Contact the team today.