What Do Nurses Really Want for Nurses Week?

What Do Nurses Really Want for Nurses Week?

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.

Work-life balance

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.

Nurses Are What Makes The Healthcare System Thrive

Nurses Week + Nurses Month + The Year Of the Nurse = Nurses Are What Makes The Healthcare System Thrive

It’s Nurses week, nurses month and of course it’s been “The Year Of the Nurse,” since 2020! Where would healthcare be without nurses? It’s clear that nurses are the heart and soul of the healthcare system.

National nurses week starts every year officially on May 6 and ends on May 12 which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale’s, known as the founder of the nursing profession. In 1954 national nurses week was first observed from May 11-16 to celebrate Florence Nightingales 100th anniversary of her mission to Crimea. Despite several attempts by the American Nurses Association (ANA) to have nurses recognized during a certain week, it wasn’t until 1982 when then president, Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation making May 6 officially “National Nurses Day.”

Nurses Keep Patients Safe

The first priority of all healthcare providers is patient safety. Perhaps Florence Nightingale said it best when she stated “It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm. It is quite necessary, nevertheless, to lay down such a principle.” When Florence Nightingale served her time in the Crimean war from 1853 to 1856, she noticed thousands of British soldiers dying from infections. She then toured various hospitals in Europe and wrote about her data in her book “Notes on Nursing,” she outlines a playbook of sorts for nurses and healthcare providers on how to keep patients safe and healthy.

Not All Nurse Schedules Are The Same

Just like there are many different types of nurses, there are also many different types of nursing work schedules. Nurses can be found almost anywhere these days, from hospitals to theme parks. Full time nurse schedules can vary and include 30-46-hour shifts.

Examples of nurse schedules include:

  • The 12-hour shift: Nurses who work in hospital setting will commonly work three 12-hour shifts in a row in a facility that gives patients 24-hour care.
  • The 10-hour shift: Although 10-hour shifts are not as common as 12-hour shifts, medical clinics and private practice healthcare settings often follow this staffing schedule.
  • The 8-hour shift: Five 8-hour shifts in a row can be found in school-based clinics, private practice facilities and medical clinics.
  • PRN: In Latin PRN “pre re neta” means as needed. PRN nurses do not have set schedules and usually work as needed. They get staffed when there is a staffing shortage of emergency situation.

The Pro’s and Con’s to 12 Hour Shift Work

Although, 12-hour shifts can seem like running a never-ending marathon, there are always pro’s and con’s. The pro’s:  number of patient deaths were found to be lower amongst nurses who work 12 hour shifts. More time is always an added bonus.

The con’s: increased fatigue, depression, dissatisfaction with work life balance, and a diminished social life. A study found that nurses who worked 12.5-hour shifts had an increase in medication errors.

Tips To Surviving Three 12’s In A Row

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get lots of rest
  • Boost your immune system
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Invest in blackout curtains and ear plugs
  • Take your breaks

Intrigma Understands Nurses And Their Staffing Needs

Intrigma’s workforce scheduling offers tracking metrics which tracks nurses vacation time, PTO, and those shifts that might not be so popular focusing on creating fairness. Intrigma’s patient volume planner matches patient volume to provider productivity helping to keep patients safe.