Five Ways to Recognize and Celebrate International Nurses Week

It is critical that we pause at least once a year to reflect upon and recognize the enormous contributions of nurses in improving the health of individual patients, communities, and the world.
A group of nurses walking through a hospital

Each May, we celebrate and salute the 28 million nurses currently working worldwide. As the single largest component of the healthcare workforce, nurses are truly the underpinning of global health. Without nurses, there simply would be no “care” in our health care. Therefore, it is critical that we pause at least once a year to reflect upon and recognize the enormous contributions of nurses in improving the health of individual patients, communities, and the world. 

As a proud nurse myself, I am honored to serve as the Chief Nurse Executive of UKG where we help more than 80,000 organizations across every industry ─ including healthcare ─ anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work. 

Nurses have been on the front lines and in leadership positions in addressing major challenges in health care today, including the global COVID pandemic. Yet, sadly, nurses’ economic and societal contributions have too often been undervalued, or worse, reduced to merely a cost center and expense line on the balance sheet. 

This year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has chosen as the theme of International Nurses Day on May 12:  Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care. UKG applauds and supports the ICN in realizing this vision, which aims to reshape perceptions and demonstrate how strategic investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits. We all know at a visceral level the importance of nursing in healing and health promotion, but the time is long past due for nurses to also be recognized for the critical economic impact they make to healthcare systems around the globe. 

Take time to recognize the nurses in your work and personal lives in a meaningful way.  Meaningful recognition is more than saying thank you as it is about acknowledging an individual’s contributions with feedback that is relevant to the work they do and expresses why their action or behavior made a difference. It is also delivered in a way that is meaningful to the recipient.  Meaningful recognition is important because every nurse wants to know that what they are doing matters. Use the DAISY nomination process to recognize your nurse (or nurses) in a most powerful way.  

A few additional ways you may provide meaningful recognition are:

1. Coordinate Personalized Thank You Notes 

Notes can come from patients, colleagues, and administrators expressing their appreciation for the critical work their nurses do each and every day without hesitation. These heartfelt messages can have a significant impact and serve as a meaningful reminder of the difference nurses make in people's lives.

2. Give Gifts of Appreciation

Gifts show gratitude for your favorite nurses’ caring, compassionate, and tireless efforts. Gifts could be personalized items such as engraved stethoscopes or name badges to everyday, practical items like gift cards, a spa treatment, or a day off.

3. Host Special Recognition Events 

They can be hosted within healthcare facilities and communities to recognize nurses for their contributions. Activities could include award ceremonies, luncheons, or gatherings where nurses are honored and celebrated for their achievements.

4. Engage in Community Outreach Activities 

The purpose is to raise awareness about the vital role nurses play in healthcare. Volunteer at local clinics or shelters, organize a health fair, or participate in charitable events that support healthcare initiatives.

5. Provide Educational Opportunities 

Nurses can indulge in professional development opportunities taking place during National Nurses Week. Workshops, seminars, or training sessions can enable nurses to enhance their skills and knowledge while feeling valued and supported by their organization.

This Nurses Week, we at UKG salute you for the difference you make. We are committed to investing in you ─ to optimize your work environment through technology solutions that assist you to do what you truly do best: care for people and their healthcare needs.