Nurses everywhere complain of being underappreciated, overworked, and underpaid. I can't help but agree with it. Then we get one week to celebrate nurses, to thank them for caring for the I'll, thank them for saving lives. As an insult to injury, some hospitals will blow it off, and forget to acknowledge the hard work of their nursing staff. Some hospitals will go all out, barbecue and cookouts, giveaways, gift cards, making their staff feel appreciated for at least one week of the year, which is somewhat of a band-aid effect anyways since the other 51 weeks are spent peeling out that band-aid from a poorly healed wound.
What do nurses want for Nurse's week? Well, let me speak for myself on a realistic tone (I know we won't ver adequate staffing and $15.00 raises); I want the administrators to step down from their high offices and come round on the nursing units, greet their nursing staff, tell them "Hey, we see you! We see all the work you're putting in to keep patients alive! We appreciate you!"
Having worked for a facility where the CEO would come around almost daily, and talk with the staff, she knew them, asked about their parents, knew their kid's names, and during nurse's week, she would come deliver gifts herself, the CNO would advocate for her staff and work with the units to find resolution, has given me an idea of true leadership. Everyone likes being recognized, shown interest and heard. I want for nurse's week that management and administration engage their staff and have transparency. "Hey Klaus, listen, I know you are all short staffed, and we are working on a budget to increase staffing, we've got this.... and that.... planned out and our budget will permit such and such, we are interviewing, and next month we will meet again and we'll keep you all updated on the process." (Boom! Acknowledge your staff's concerns, give a plan and timeline and most important, FOLLOW THROUGH!!!)
Nurses put in long hours, endure the stress and heavy workload, the least that can be done, at least on nurse's week, is to acknowledge them.
I don't believe that's asking for much, the only acknowledgment I have received this year was from my colleagues. So I encourage healthcare leaders, especially those in administrative roles, to engage their nursing staff, be transparent. Show them that you are there for them as they have been there for you and your facility every day, busting ass and saving lives.
Yes we want pens, gifts, cookies, ice cream, pizza parties, and raises, all that in celebration for our hard work, but most importantly, we want and NEED active leaders, leaders with a purpose and leaders that will advocate for their staff, that will be involved and seek to improve their units and help their staff grow.
I challenge healthcare leaders and administrative staff to interact and engage with the staff, get to know them, let them know you see what they are doing and you appreciate every single one. Compensate them for the work they provide, yearly raises shouldn't be capped at 1-2%, this will not help with employee retention. I challenge administrators this nurse's week to go round in the units and greet your nurses, say thank you! (and bring treats and gifts....)
The Dude Nurse
Klaus Campos, BSN-RN