Tips on How to Thank Nurses


Do the unexpected
You’ll be a hero if you whip out that corporate credit card once in a while or just do some creative scheduling to give some well-deserved time off! For example:

  • Pay for lunch
  • Offer a day off with pay
  • Allow for a late start when the day’s workload is expected to be light
  • Make a straight donation—rather than taking the candy or cookies—when parents are doing fundraising for their children’s schools or activities
  • Celebrate birthdays with a card signed by all staff, a cake and a little gift.
  • Keep a stash of herbal tea and fresh fruit in your office to offer to colleagues who’ve had a long day or have been working extremely hard.

For example, around the time that this article was being written, Dr. Moshe Lewis, MD, MPH wrote to tell us that he and his staff at the University of California, San Francisco, just held a surprise cupcake party for his front desk staff person. Nice, huh?

Write letters (and encourage others to do so)
If you meet a patient (or family) who is profusely thankful, urge them to write a quick note to commend their nurse.

When a manager, a director, or an administrator receives a letter commending an employee, it has a twofold benefit: The manager or director gets the satisfaction of knowing his or her staff is doing a good job, and the employee receives “a pat on the back from administration, as well as a heartfelt, thank you from a patient or family,” says Nancy Beck, BSN, RN, is an experienced cardiac care nurse.

You, too, can add to the commendation pile. Write notes to the supervisors of your colleagues and try to hand-deliver them so you’re sure they get read.

Be prepared and be creative
One smart manager, Dr. Ron Arndt, who provides dental practice and business management coaching, offers this advice:

  • Keep a treasure trove of simple little gifts available for spontaneous rewards.
  • Visit the dollar store and load up on all kinds of goofy little gifts.
  • Have $5 and $10 gift certificates available to pass out spontaneously.
  • Keep a stash of small boxes of chocolates in your desk.
  • Provide a quality “crash” facility for your staff. Make your break room a retreat by springing for low-cost amenities like a CD player or iPod docking station, plants, candles, comfortable furniture, and relaxing pictures on the walls. Also consider putting in some aromatherapy scents, a foot massager, or a warm paraffin hand bath.

When your team and your management get in the habit of thanking others, you’re all likely to enjoy healthier relationships and stronger friendships at work.