Nurse’s Week is upon us. First off, I want to wish each and every nursing student, new to experienced nurse, and even retired nurses a very warm and wonderful Nurse’s Week to you. You ought to be extremely proud to be in this profession of nursing. I know I sure am!
Now- Nurse’s Week can be one that brings up mixed emotions. Some organizations have clumped Nurse’s Week with all hospital staff celebration week, making the nursing staff feel less appreciated. Or other institutions have completely done away with Nurse’s Week at all, for a variety of reasons related to budget, staffing, and challenges with recognition programs. Finally, some employers completely celebrate, appreciate, and recognize their staff. And whoo hooo for them!! (If you want your organization to celebrate Nurse’s Week in a meaningful, uplifting, and professional way- tell them about the Art of Nursing for 2017.)
Regardless of your employer- Nurse’s Week is for YOU. The nurse. It’s a time to reflect on our profession and just how far it has come. It’s a time to reflect on nursing and how positive it has been. It’s a time to reflect on your career and feel gratitude towards your mentors, colleagues, and management. It’s a time to reflect on you and celebrate yourself for all of the accomplishments you have experienced.
It’s no secret that being a nurse is tough work. From physical demands to emotional labor- nursing is a profession of giving all you’ve got. However- this week is all about YOU! It’s time to celebrate yourself. Give thanks for your accomplishments. Recognize your achievements. Even if no one else will do it for you- you can certainly do this for yourself.
I do realize that it can be difficult for a nurse to toot their own horn. In fact, even on my podcast (Your Next Shift) some guests I interview struggle to answer the question I ask them about their greatest career success. So for today’s post.. I’ll share with you some ways that work for me.
- Make a List. This one should be easy-peesy for any nurse to do. We LOVE making lists, right!?! So, sit down with pen and paper and make an old fashioned list. What I recommend is thinking back to nursing school (no matter how far away that was). OK- so what did you know then? How did you feel? Think about your very first nursing job. What happened that was scary? When did you feel like a nurse? What was your first patient experience where you were like, ‘Wow, I got this!’? Go back through your career and jot down things that you have been recognized for at work; things you have accomplished related to your education; or just how far you’ve come from that very first day on your brand new nursing unit. If you really take the time to think back and see how far you have made it as a nurse- you have a LOT to celebrate yourself for.
- Read Old Love Notes. I don’t know about you, but I keep things like handwritten thank you notes or emails that sign words of praise. I know in many organizations they have ways for patients to give their feedback about the care that they received. Does your nurse manager share these ‘love notes’ with you? I once interviewed a nurse on the podcast (Bernie Z.) who said she found an old shoe box of cards and envelopes related to her nursing career. She said that once a year she goes back and opens this box, reading the letters she had received from patients, families and staff. Now- if you don’t have any letters, emails, or notes of your own to read… here’s something you can do to start this process. Write yourself a handwritten letter in the third person. Address it, write about the good things you see yourself doing at work, and seal it up. Then next year, during Nurse’s Week, go back and read this letter about yourself. I know from experience that an exercise like this can really be powerful and uplifting!
- Do Something Non-Nursey. Let’s hear it for work life balance!! Not every single way you celebrate your nursing career has to be all about being a nurse. Treat yourself to a massage. Go shopping. Have an expensive lunch of the most nutrient and delicious foods. Take a walk in the park. Visit an amusement park. Go sky diving. Do something fun, energizing, and totally celebratory for yourself. Appreciate yourself and your nursing career today, this Nurse’s Week, and every single day going forward. Make that a new goal- starting now!
What did we miss? I’d love to hear how you celebrate Nurse’s Week. Leave a appreciation tip in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. During the National Nurse’s Week online conference, ‘The Art of Nursing‘, Elizabeth supports nurses in achieving professional goals of continued learning and development. Click here to find out more about how The Art of Nursing appreciates and celebrates our profession in a meaningful way.