Nurses nationwide are being treated to many thank yous and appreciative gestures to celebrate National Nurses Week. Each organization is different, and it’s fun to see how nurses’ work is being noticed across the nation.

At Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, nurses are celebrated throughout the month, but this week offers extra activities throughout IU Health’s extensive network. Below is a sampling of some of their activities, but it’s not too late to implement similar activities at your own organization this year or start planing for National Nurses Week 2015!

“It’s a tradition at the IU Health academic health center (Indianapolis-based hospitals) to celebrate National Nurses Week and honor the thousands of nurses in our system who help deliver on the promise of assurance to our patients and families,” says Kelly Sego, of IU Health’s nursing communications.

The roundup of activities includes everything from giving organization leaders the opportunity to really see the work of a nurse to just plain fun things for nurses to do and have.

To recognize the nurses effects on the surrounding communities IU Health serves, nonclinical leaders will get to see nurses’ work first-hand when they shadow them during a usual day. The event gives a real opportunity for those in organizational leadership positions to peek into the often-hectic day of a nurse and to appreciate all a nurse does for the patients and the community on any given shift. And the nurses get a boost themselves – it’s inspiring to see their own tasks through the eyes of someone else.

“Nurses Week is a perfect opportunity to visibly express the deep appreciation and gratitude that we have for the important work that nurses do,” says IU Health Executive Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive Linda Q. Everett, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Nurses put their whole selves on the line every day in the name of patients and families.”

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IU Health also offers some fun opportunities for nurses to just reconnect with each other. With Indianapolis being home to the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (where IU Health has a suite), a Nurses Day at the Track seems appropriate! Up to 40 nurse winners (from a raffle) will get to spend Old National Armed Forces Pole Day at the track. They will get Pit passes to the driver garage as well.

And all the little things, like free water bottles, prize drawings, or even discounts on uniform orders, make nurses feel recognized. In recognition of IU Health’s recent Magnet re-designation, food stations will be spread out all over this week as well – giving all nurses a chance to grab a bite to eat and a hear a thanks from nurse leaders (who are also recognized with their own reception). Individual units will celebrate in their own way. Some, says Sego, will have pot lucks or recognition events to honor nurses in their everyday good works. In addition, luncheons will honor nurses who won awards over the course of the year with senior executive nurses offering their thoughts as guest speakers.

But likely one of the most treasured methods of recognitions are the personalized and hand-written thank-you notes to the nurses from their managers and other organization leaders. Anyone appreciates the recognition of having their hard work noticed.

If you work at IU Health, you will see these celebrations all over, but if not, suggest a few or even incorporate a few ideas into your own work environment if you can.

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