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Tips for Success: Celebration Ideas

Individual and Team Recognitions  |  Awards  |  Banners, Posters, and Signs
Birthday Party for Florence Nightingale  |  Contests & Games  |  Small Daily Celebrations
Daily Drawings  |  Family and Patient Involvement  |  Food Celebrations  |  Hall of Fame
High Tea  |  Pen Swap  |  PowerPoint Presentations  |  "Wind Beneath Our Wings"

Individual and Team Recognitions
Successful celebrations not only recognize nurses, but the other members of the healthcare team.  Nurses in some areas have taken the opportunity during Nurses’ Week to honor valued team members such as care partners, medical receptionists, etc.  At the same time, non-nurse team members have reciprocated with local events honoring their nurses.

Tailor awards to uniquely fit your area’s personality and culture.  Develop a nomination process and winner recognition.

  • Design your own ballot box
  • Designate an area to display photos of “winners”

Award Suggestions:

  • Most likely to swap a shift
  • Our Greatest Cheerleader
  • Most Likely to have something nice to say
  • The Calm in the Storm
  • Best Hair/Biggest Smile
  • Most Likely to show pictures of their grandkids
  • Most Likely to bring in vegetables from a garden
  • Most Likely to be VUMC CNO
  • Most Likely to win a bowling trophy
  • Most likely to become a country music star
  • Most athletic 

Banners, Posters, and Signs

  • Say thank you to our nurses
  • Thank your non-nursing colleagues for their support of the delivery of nursing care
  • Hang a large sheet of butcher paper it in a central location and encourage staff, physicians, and even patients & family members to write “public” notes of gratitude to our nurses
  • Showcase quality improvement projects
  • Honor notable professional achievements, honors, degrees, or awards earned over the past year
  • Recognize any unit/department award or recognition earned over the past year.
  • Recognize a specific individual
  • Honor a newly retired nurse or a memorial of a former nurse

Birthday Party for Florence Nightingale
Plan a party, cake and all, to celebrate the birth of the founder of nursing.  Make this fun!  Consider party hats and fun trinkets from the dollar store as give-aways.  This is an opportunity to celebrate the “birth of nursing.”

Contests & Games
Consider contests related to Nursing, such as the coolest hat, best looking scrubs, trivia games, and scavenger hunts.

Small Daily Celebrations
Plan a series of daily celebrations, such as Sunday Sundae, Muffin Monday, Tea on Tuesday, or Thirsty Thursday (serve root beer floats).

One area planned the following series of events having staff members volunteer to bring in the needed items:
Monday = breakfast
Tuesday = a candle for each nurse with a note with the unit/clinic name and “Nurses Light up Vanderbilt”
Wednesday = a massage therapist came and gave each nurse a chair massage
Thursday = each nurse was given a soup cup with a package of soup inside
Friday = each nurse was given a bottle with candy in it

Daily Drawings to win small prizes donated by staff!

Family & Patient Involvement

Consider ways to invite our patients & families into the spirit of the celebration of Nurses’ Week.

Offer a supply of thank you cards -- distribute some to each room or keep a supply in a basket at the Nurses’ Station.  Use a sign to encourage our patients or their family members to write a special thank you to our nurses.

One area had a basket of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses and Hugs with a sign that read “Give your Nurse a Kiss & Hug in Honor of Nurses’ Week.”

Food Celebrations
Ordering pizza is well-received and might be able to be funded via the department budget or by the contribution from the physicians practicing in your area.

Plan a bake-off and make it a competition for the best homemade goods!

Consider a Pot Luck with a theme such as Italian, Chili, Blue Plate Special (meat & three), etc.

Hall of Fame
One area created a Hall of Fame honoring their nurses.  They had staff members bring in Nursing School pictures and posted them on a prominent public wall in their department.

Consider a Hall of Fame with a fun theme such as baby pictures of your nurses and a corresponding game sheet so staff can use it to guess who they are.

High Tea
Consider having a High Tea to honor a special group within your team, perhaps your Level 3 & 4 RN’s.

Pen Swap
Create a fun activity for your staff – swapping fun pens!

PowerPoint Presentations
Highlight staff achievements.  If your unit/area has a room with projection capabilities, put ppt on a loop and have it play throughout the day or a scheduled time period so colleagues can quickly drop-in to preview.

"Wind Beneath Our Wings”
One area had a “Wind beneath our Wings” day where nurses brought in cookies, candy, and thank you notes/cards for Medical Receptionists, Care Partners, Environmental Services, and other team members. 

  Tips for Success Planning a Nurses' Week Celebration in Your Unit/Area