If you've spent any time in hospitals you understand that when it comes to one on one time with the patients, it's the nurses who do the bulk of the work - and it can absolutely be a thankless job. Working in the medical community can be draining, physically, emotionally and mentally.
That being said, a little bit of appreciation goes a long way. But how, exactly, do you thank your nurses when their shifts rotate so quickly and you never really know who is going to be on staff when?
Reddit user PossibleDogNapping asked:
Turns out there are quite a few ways, but it pretty much boils down to snacks and a thank you note. If that's all it takes, then nurses really must not get thanked anywhere near enough. So allow us to take this moment to say THANK YOU - from anyone who has ever been a patient to anyone who has ever provided treatment.
We appreciate you.
Most places have comment cards or a mechanism for feedback - i'd do that as well as flowers/candy/donuts/etc. Those compliments go up to the managers and are considered in decisions about promotions and funding. At least for my place of work, compliments go in your 'permanent file'. Also be sure to visit later! The work can get you really down, but seeing someone who's thriving is just the best.
I am not a nurse, but I used to work in a hospital with 18 nurses as my coworkers. I can tell you the one thing that made people cry was handwritten notes of thanks. I saw at least 3 people (one of them a big, burly, heterosexual, father of 2) cry because of notes patients or their families sent because they were so heartfelt.
You can also send donuts or pastries or whatever, those are always a hit. As long as the gift/food is addressed to the whole office, there's no ethical qualms about accepting it as a gift. The note can be addressed to just one person if you want.
Tell their manager, please, please tell their manager. Or write a letter. Someone doing their job well can often go unnoticed by management and in my experience, nurses suck at giving positive feedback. Our job is hard and it would be nice to be professionally recognized now and then.
Patience From The Patients
As a tech and a nursing student, a big thing to show appreciation is just show understanding that they have other patients. If you need something (Tylenol or Dilaudid) it may take awhile. We also hear your complaints but they can't always be taken care of (ex. Clear liquid diets).
When my daughter's were born, I brought a gallon of ice cream for the nursing staff from an amazing ice cream stand.
Walked off the elevator to the nurses station... May I help you? Yes, could you help me eat this, pulling out 2 half gallons. Eyes grew WIDE as did the smile. I'm going to see (wife's name) down the hall.
Wife and baby basically wanted for nothing while they were there.
I took names. The woman who raced me into ER, the nurse, every technician, even those folks dressed in red (yes, the phlebotomists actually wore red). It was exactly 27 people in all. But I was scared and they were actually helping me and I wanted to know their names.
For 3 days they worked to save my life. And when I got home I wrote a 2-page, single space, 11-size-font-Calibri letter. I itemized every single person and what each did for me, addressed it to the ER and the 6th floor of the hospital and mailed it.
When I returned again, this time for life-saving surgery, I again took names - I intend to send the floor some donuts at shift changes and some personal cards. While I was post-op, someone from admin came to check on me and see if there was anything she could do. Some sort of case manager. I told her I was great (relative to being dead that is!), but I had written a letter and really wanted to be sure it went to the right place, that someone had read it.
She returned the next day to tell me that she'd 'found' the letter - it had moved through the hospital and into the Leadership's Hands and was read aloud at a meeting; and they intended on blowing up the letter and placing it in the break rooms for nurses, doctors, etc. Sometimes, I think just stopping and taking the time to write it out, to really be specific about what their care meant, might be the most meaningful. I'll never forget them, and I told them that.
Standing Up To The Family
Just be nice to me, I know you might feel like crap or are going through a lot but I'm working hard to help you get better. Stand up to those family members of yours who are awful because they feel they need to look like they are doing something for you. A smile from my patient is worth more than anything else.
In the words of my mom who is a nurse
"Please don't die, thanks."
Notes & Snacks
As a nurse, I love notes! I put them in my portfolio and pull them out after a long day. And hugs! But gift wise, we love being able to share candies/snacks with our unit or pods.
But truly, nothing beats a handwritten or personal note ♥️
Basic manners. Saying please and thank you. Also, trust your healthcare team over WebMD or your mom's group on Facebook.
Ticky-Box Worshipping Sniglets
Chocolates, pizza, cookies are all lovely and we (at least my coworkers and I) appreciate them greatly. But this is a massively difficult job that is frequently supervised by petty, ticky-box worshipping, sniglets who care much more about the paperwork.
SO please, if we did a good job, made you or a loved ones life better, more comfortable, or maybe even saved a life - tell our bosses.
From An ER RN
From an ER RN:
Be kind. The ER is busy, yet a lot of waiting (for results, orders and meds to cross over, for an eval) happens. We're not ignoring you.
Not getting angry when you're discharged without a clear diagnosis. The ER evaluates and treats life-threatening conditions and ensures stable patients can receive outpatient treatment; if you're one of the stable patients, be thankful and follow up as recommended.
Notes v. Food
If there is a nurse or two who has made an extra impression on you, go ahead and write an individual note. I have received three of those in ten years of nursing and you better believe I saved them. It means a lot to know you make that much of a difference, especially when you are feeling stressed and frustrated at times.
Food is nice but it's gone in 5 minutes and people who aren't on shift won't get to share.
Pizza Buys Our LoveGiphy
Food. Many floors/units are so busy and chronically understaffed (by design because profits are more important than patients regardless of what bullshit a CEO spouts about patient safety being the #1 priority) that the staff typically have just minutes to grab food or drink in a 12 hours day. Pizza buys our love.
Tell them. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Nurses go through so much more than what people assume. Expressing your appreciation in words may seem minor, but to them it means the world. In a cruel world, it's gratefulness like that, that reminds them why they chose that profession and makes their job a bit easier to do.
Also, this does not apply to everybody. This is more a personal opinion. Violence against nurses (and health care workers in general) is a growing problem in many parts of the world. If you really want to show appreciation, advocate for them when they are being pushed around. A coworker of mine died from an attack from a patients family member. No one batted an eye when we spoke up about this growing problem. Violence is not part of our job.