With the holiday gift season approaching, it’s a great time to start thinking about how to show appreciation to your favorite colleagues. Positive nurse-to-nurse relationships can profoundly impact your experience working in healthcare. Gift exchanges are common in many workplaces, so why not plan one with your nurse colleagues? Here are some options for the best nurse-to-nurse gift exchange ideas.

Make Their Shift Easier

As their coworker, you know best what makes their shifts easier. Pay extra attention in the next few weeks to see if your fellow nurses have any consistent complaints. Does one of them keep losing their water bottle? Or, another could benefit from new shoe inserts to stay comfortable during a long shift.

Think about anything your colleagues might talk about wanting, like a phone sanitizer, a new journal, or a personal massager. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll often realize people talk about the gifts they’d like to receive. As their nurse colleague, you have a unique opportunity to spend much time listening to them!

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Show some sparkle

Show Some Sparkle

Although not every nurse can wear jewelry during a shift, Christmas jewelry gifts are always a thoughtful choice for a colleague. There’s a wide range of jewelry for various budgets, depending on what you’re comfortable spending. Has a fellow nurse done something that genuinely impacted your career or overall experience in healthcare in the past year? This is an excellent opportunity to get them a slightly nicer gift than you might get from another colleague.

As you know, nurses often go under-appreciated despite the work they do. It’s important to show your colleagues the appreciation you want to be shown. A beautiful bracelet or pair of earrings can go a long way—every time your coworker wears their gift, they’ll be reminded of your appreciation!

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Help Them Relax

After long shifts on your feet all day, going home, changing into comfortable clothes, and relaxing are the best feelings. As a nurse yourself, you know what helps you most! Consider sharing your secrets and giving your coworkers some of your favorite end-of-day comforts. Aromatic candles, bath bombs, fuzzy socks, comfy sweaters, and cozy blankets make great gifts, especially in the wintertime.

It can be easy to overthink gifts, especially for colleagues you don’t know very well on a personal level. However, remember you’re at an advantage—you work the same job! You know what helps you relax after a long day of work, and your nurse colleagues will likely appreciate you sharing any of that with them. It can be a good idea to include a sweet note with your gift explaining how you benefit from it yourself. This way, they’ll feel touched by you, believing they’d also benefit.

Bring the Team Closer

The nurses you’re exchanging gifts with are likely part of the same team. Take the holiday gift-giving season as an opportunity to bring the team closer together with matching presents. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy unless you want it to be. Even getting your team of nurses the same pair of fun socks, nursing-themed or not, can be a thoughtful gesture. Or, consider personalizing the same gift for everyone.

For example, many reusable water bottle brands will personalize their products with names and gifts like sweatshirts, key chains, and more. You can even take it a step further by using nicknames instead of their full names to show you’re paying attention.

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Make It Yourself

Are you still paying off nursing school loans and not in a position to be spending a lot of money on gifts? Or, do you have so many nurse colleagues that it wouldn’t make sense to pay for a gift for each one? Plenty of gift exchange ideas only require you to spend a little money while still being thoughtful and putting a smile on your fellow nurses’ faces. 

If you love to bake in your free time, homemade sweets are always an excellent idea. You can even give them a fun, decorated “coupon” that explains you will take on a shift for them if they ever need to be covered!

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Appreciate your coworkers (photo credit: Cottonbro Studio)

Appreciate Your Coworkers

According to researchers at Xavier University’s School of Nursing, nurse-to-nurse relationships impact the nurses involved and can also affect the quality of patient care. Moreover, the quality of nurse-to-nurse relationships in the workplace determines whether someone remains in the profession. If you appreciate your colleagues, consider participating in a gift exchange this holiday.

Aaron Smith
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