No matter what specialty you’re in, you know that a nurse’s work never stops. You’re dedicated to saving the lives of others, and you take on unpredictable situations with grace. For these reasons and so many more, you deserve to be honored and celebrated during Nurses Week, starting May 6th.
To help you and your colleagues and teammates make the most of it, we pulled together a list of the best Nurses Week celebration ideas and broke them up into two categories: activities you can do for your colleagues, and activities you can do just for yourself. Take a look at the list below and see if there are any you'd like to try out this year.
10 Activities You Can Do for Your Colleagues
Here are 10 fun Nurses Week celebration ideas you can do for your colleagues.
Idea #1: Get the community involved.
Nurse managers, get the whole town involved to recognize the importance of nursing in your community. Reach out to local business owners to get donations, sponsored gifts, and complimentary services like massages, hairstyles or haircuts, food, or manicures and pedicures. Then create a grab bag of gifts your team can pull out and win.
Idea #2: Host a team luncheon.
You’re always on the go, so you need a good meal (and one that’s not cafeteria food) to keep yourself powered up. You all spend a good portion of your time at work, so treat your team to a catered, in - house lunch from a favorite local restaurant. If the administration won’t foot the bill, coordinate a potluck in which you all bring a favorite dish and learn a little about each other.
Idea #3: Grab T-shirts for the group.
Cheesy, maybe. Team spirit? You know it. Purchase a group T-shirt for your whole team to wear. Nurse - owned companies like Riot Healers and Nurses Inspire Nurses are a great way to support nurse entrepreneurs while sporting a cool tee. Sites like Custom Ink offer free shipping on orders. Rush Order Tees offers 30 percent off your entire order with free eight - day delivery. You all should be proud of the work you do as nurses. Why not let the world know?
Idea #4: Create a relaxation room.
Dr. Elise Bialylew, founder of Mindful in May, found that practicing mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes a day (for one month) created more positive emotions, reduced stress, increased self - compassion, and strengthened focus. So find a spare room to encourage the staff to disconnect for their own personal health. Add cozy chairs, soothing lights, and a sound machine to drown out noise from the hall. And if there’s budget for it, invite a meditation or yoga teacher or masseuse in for a day or two.
Idea #5: Organize a nurses' night out.
It could be as simple as meeting up in someone's backyard for a cookout, or as big a "to-do" as reserving the patio at your team's favorite restaurant. Gather up as many of your peers as you can and meet up for dinner and a night of fun. This can also be done in groups so each nurse at your hospital or care facility has a chance to get in on the celebration.
Idea #6: Recognize hard work.
Recognition goes a long way. This year is the year to go over and beyond the usual paper certificates. Host a gala or celebratory dinner and recognize the efforts of nurses. Invite local media to do a profile on the nurses. Additionally, recognize them in newsletters, blogs, and social media.
Idea #7: Bring a comfort dog to work.
Studies have found that therapy dogs can help reduce stress. Find out if your facility has therapy dogs on staff or is connected to any therapy dog organizations, and see if they can make a surprise round or two on your floor.
Idea #8: Offer free learning opportunities.
The fact is that more nurses are considering leaving the profession. So what can you do for your team, who you care about and depend on? Offer opportunities that will empower them to grow their careers. Create mentorship pairings, suggest accountability partners, provide continuing education hours, and/or schedule a lunch n’ learn series of nurse leaders as guest speakers who can share their experiences blazing new paths in the profession.
Want more ideas your nurses want to learn about? Consider bringing in a well - respected industry professional to give a seminar your colleagues would find beneficial and/or inspiring. For example, if there’s a new technique that’s trending in nursing — such as nurse informatics, consider bringing in an expert who can shed light on the topic. Just be sure that these opportunities are free for nurses to attend.
Idea #9: Offer mental health and emotional well-being support and training.
Nurses are learning to prioritize their mental health and emotional well - being. The impacts of the pandemic and staffing shortages have adversely impacted nurses and their mental health. During this time solutions and interventions that support nurses are imperative. Implementing hands - on training in a safe space is crucial. Holding sessions that are facilitated by a trained expert such as a therapist or counselor — who is not affiliated with the facility — may make nurses feel safe to share their feelings. It’s also important to ensure that these experts represent the diversity within the facility’s nursing population and society at large.
Idea #10: Have a fun community-building activity.
Nurses love building community. They want to be heard, feel valued, and experience a sense of belonging. A community - building activity such as sip and paint is not only fun but also allows the nurses to get to know each other in a less formal setting. This can be done virtually, too. The studio can mail you everything you need (minus the sip, of course), and the team can log into Zoom and begin the sessions.
No paint? No problem. Consider team bowling or one of these other community- building activities:
- Guided meditation
- Peer support groups
- Escape rooms
Have all the nurses on your unit talked about how angry they are? Consider taking a team trip to a rage room and smash some things!
7 Activities to Do Just for Yourself
Don't forget to treat yourself a little bit, too! Here are eight Nurses Week celebration ideas for some much - needed self - care.
Idea #1: Treat your day off like an actual day off.
When you actually have time to kick back and relax… do just that. Go ahead and binge-watch Netflix in bed, shop at your favorite stores, get out on an inspiring walk, or head to a scenic spot to remove all distractions. Your chore list can wait; self - care can’t.
Idea #2: Enjoy a meal on the house.
Chipotle and Cinnabon famously give nurses free food during Nurses Week. Other chains like Auntie Anne’s, Applebees, Outback Steakhouse give discounts. A valid I.D., like an official hospital badge, is typically needed to claim these deals. As the week gets closer, we will be adding a list to this page of all the companies giving free food for nurses.
Idea #3: Spend time outdoors.
Your work days are mostly spent indoors, so it’s not often you get to venture outside and enjoy the fresh air. Studies have found that spending time outdoors, even for just 15 minutes, can reduce stress. So, instead of hanging out in the breakroom, step outside for a short walk or sit on a bench and zone out with a book or podcast.
Idea #4: Two words: Spa day.
Being on your feet all day long is exhausting. Book a massage, mani - pedi, facial, or hair treatment to treat yourself.
Idea #5: Learn a new skill.
As a nurse, you never stop learning about your profession. In your free time, take a course in something that interests you outside of work. This could be a pottery class you’ve been dying to take, learning a new language, or a photography course. Do something that caters to your interests. It seems like such a small thing, but learning a new skill can feel invigorating.
Idea #6: Go ahead - brag a little!
There’s no shame in celebrating yourself on social media with a humble brag or two. Post a photo of yourself in scrubs with the hashtag #NationalNursesWeek and include an anecdote about your time as a nurse thus far. It’s heartwarming and self - affirming to share your hard work with friends, and it can be even more fun when they write messages of support back.
Idea #7: Write a letter to yourself.
Go ahead, no one else has to read it. Reflect back on all the wonderful people you’ve met in your career, the skills you’ve developed and honed, and — most importantly — the lives you’ve changed. Tell yourself how proud you are of you! You can turn this into a fun time capsule by sealing it up and leaving it someplace you’ll easily find later, such as in a desk or nightstand drawer. Then, the following Nurses Week, you can open it up, reread it, and see just how far you’ve come.
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Image courtesy of iStock.com/Oleg Elkov