How to honor nurses during National Nurses Week in May and find the best ones to hire
National Nurses Week is an opportunity to celebrate nurses for being at the frontline of patient care. This weeklong celebration coincides with the American Nurses Association's National Nurses Month. Nurses deserve all the accolades for everything they do since they're there during some of the most vulnerable times. After all, nurses account for the largest profession within the healthcare sector. Many nurses go above and beyond to give patients the very best care.
History of National Nurses Week
The origins of National Nurses Week date back to 1953 when Dorothy Sutherland, who worked for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Dwight D. Eisenhower seeking a "Nurse Day" in October of the following year. While the proclamation never occurred, the following year the country observed a National Nurse Week from Oct. 11 through 16. This coincided with the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to Crimea.
For several decades, several resolutions were presented for the government to acknowledge a National Registered Nurse Day, but it took until 1974 for President Richard Nixon to issue a proclamation for National Nurse Week. In February 1982, the American Nurses Association (ANA) formally acknowledged May 6, 1982, as National Nurses Day, joining a national resolution from the U.S. Congress for National Recognition Day for Nurses also on May 6. In 1993, the ANA Board of Directors designated May 6 through 12 as the permanent dates for National Nurses Week beginning in 1994.
How to celebrate National Nurses Week
National Nurses Week is a wonderful opportunity to show how much you care about everything they do. While the easiest way to show nurses appreciation is to say thank you, you can go a step further and consider doing one or more of the following to celebrate the week.
- Handwrite a thank you note. You might think that handwritten notes are a thing of the past, but you might be surprised by how meaningful they can be. Take the time to craft a note expressing how appreciative you are.
- Provide breakfast. Coffee and pastries are the perfect way for many people to start their day. Giving them an extra shot of caffeine can help them get that extra boost they might need.
- Host a luncheon. Don't just think about offering breakfast since people love free food at any time. A luncheon is a great way to give nurses a bit of a break and have a chance to chat with others.
- Share appreciation. Use a bulletin board to pin positive patient comments or survey results. Not only does this recognize nurses for their hard work, but it also sets the tone for a higher standard of care.
- Offer a pop-up campaign. Send an email to all the nurses, and provide a link for them to choose a pre-selected gift. You can offer gift cards, flowers, or something a little more personalized.
Nurses need these hard skills
Hard skills deal with a specific area of study, such as what candidates might study during their schooling. They're tangible skills that involve the clinical skills and knowledge to actually practice as a nurse. While the actual specific hard skills depend upon the specialty and nursing level (such as certified nursing assistant, nurse practitioner, and registered nurse), many nurses should have at least some of the same hard skills.
- Patient assessment. You want to hire nurses who know how to evaluate and assess patients' symptoms and conditions. Can they accurately check vitals, examine the patient, and prioritize concerns?
- Patient safety. Along with assessment, patient safety is just as important. Medical facilities don't want patients to injure themselves because the facility would be liable. Ask candidates if they know fall risk protocols along with proper safety measures. They should also know infection control measures.
- Medication management and IV placement. Medication is one of the main responsibilities of nurses, so they should know how to administer and chart medications. IVs are another key component, so candidates should know how to place IV catheters as well as start and manage infusions.
- Emergency and urgent care. Even if you're not looking for nurses in the acute or urgent care community, nurses still need to make quick and informed decisions. This might include changing out a dressing quickly or attending to a patient's urgent needs.
Nurses need these soft skills
In addition to possessing hard skills, nurses need to have a variety of soft skills. These soft skills, which are more social and universal, help them interact with other coworkers and patients and are a vital component of successful treatment. They must remain compassionate without sacrificing their emotional well-being, which they can do by developing soft skills. When you're looking for potential nursing employees, look for the following soft skills:
- Strong communication. Nurses interact with patients and coworkers daily, so it's imperative they can listen carefully to accurately assess data. The best nurse communicators are kind, confident, and sincere.
- Compassionate. It should come as no surprise that compassion is a necessity for nurses. Patients and families can become overwhelmed, so approaching them compassionately is vital.
- Manages stress. Working in a fast-paced environment such as nursing with such high stakes can be extremely stressful. The best nurses set aside personal time to distance themselves.
- Team player. Nursing is hardly a single-person profession; nurses work closely with doctors, other medical professionals, patients, and families so it's imperative that they can work well with others.
How to recruit nurses
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the country lacked enough nurses to fill all the positions open across the country. Throw in the pandemic, and more nurses experienced burnout and cut their careers short. A study conducted in the middle of the pandemic in 2021 found that out of 6,000 critical care nurses, approximately 66% considered leaving the profession. As a result, you might wonder how you can recruit nurses within an environment with so many factors going against the profession.
"While the actual specific hard skills depend upon the specialty and nursing level (such as certified nursing assistant, nurse practitioner, and registered nurse), many nurses should have at least some of the same hard skills."
It's more important than ever to be creative when it comes to recruitment, especially for nurses. To attract more qualified candidates, you should use effective marketing strategies to stand out from the thousands of job posts. A few of the other strategies you should use include the following:
- Focus on work-life balance. Highlight tools you have access to that can help nurses deal with the emotional strain of working with and losing patients. Promote self-care opportunities and integrate them into the workplace.
- Offer flexible schedules. One of the top reasons nurses burn out involves long working hours. Providing candidates with a flexible schedule might attract more nurses since they can balance their work and home lives.
- Be personable. When reaching out to candidates, avoid the temptation of sending a form response. Emphasize the personal approach to better connect and make candidates feel like they're important.
Due to an increasingly aging population, professions in the healthcare industry are expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. Knowing what to look for when it comes to potential candidates can help you find the best ones. Once they're part of your company, don't forget to thank them for all their hard work and dedication by celebrating them during National Nurses Week.
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