National Nurses Week: Celebrating Nurses Now and Everyday
When the American Nurses’ Association announced the theme for National Nurses’ Week 2020 as ‘The Year of the Nurse and the Nurse Midwife’ no one could have anticipated how true that tagline would become. As the COVID-19 virus expanded into a pandemic causing millions, of often critically ill, highly contagious patients to descend on hospitals and other healthcare facilities, nurses around the world stepped up as they always do. Nurses accepted this call to duty at the frontlines of a world-class crisis that still rages today. Without thought for their own health and spiritual wellbeing, nurses are still serving, not only for COVID-19 patients, but all others in need. National Nurses’ Week, celebrated annually between May 6-12th provides a chance for others to recognize nurses (and nursing staff members) for their caring, compassion and mission to serve others. As I celebrate my 40th anniversary as a nurse on May 10th it is not lost on me, the gift it has been to first serve as a nurse on the frontlines, and then as a leader and coach supporting those who do.
Over the years, I have often asked why we limit our praises and recognition of nurses to just one week a year. Others, such as Mark and Bonnie Barnes, my dear friends who founded the Daisy Foundation, felt the same way. Twenty-two years ago, they created the ‘Daisy Award’ program in memory of their son, Patrick, to recognize nurses around the world for the amazing nursing care they provide. Just like the nurses who cared for Patrick during a short and cruel illness that took his life far too soon. As Daisy has grown, so has our awareness of the pivotal role that nurses and nursing staff members play in our healthcare industry, in their communities, and in their homes. I was raised by a nurse, who embodied skill and efficiency as well as caring. She was a no-nonsense advocate for her profession and her patients. She once told me that the ultimate recognition for her was to see me follow in her footsteps to become a nurse. That was the ultimate recognition for me too, as I admired her and valued her opinion.
I don’t think that it was a coincidence that I was approached by a nursing colleague to ‘check out’ the team at Nobl and their products at about the same time that my mom entered hospice and the last few months of her long and colorful life. As soon as I saw a product demonstration of the hospital rounding software, I knew that this was a team that I could embrace and support.
That was over four years ago, and hospital rounding has changed. It has expanded worldwide, far beyond nurse hourly rounding, validated in the mid-2000s. The value of leader rounding on patients and on nurses (and other employees) is now acknowledged as a best practice. At Nobl we have continued to evolve too. Our platforms offer a quick, easy way to document rounding while providing a menu of reports, analytics, and integrations to other software. One key feature is the ‘praises’ feature, provided in leader rounds, linked to employee rounds and able to provide data for other recognition and human resource software solutions. By customizing employee question sets and updating as needed, leaders can quickly gather nurse feedback, ideas, and even perform ‘pulse check’ surveys with items that align with nurse satisfaction survey tools. All this data flows into a variety of report formats suitable for posting or integration into presentations and staff meetings.
The ability to collect and send staff praises at the touch of a button by integrating with other hospital communication software, like email or texting, has the potential to change the day-to-day culture of recognition in healthcare.
Documenting and sending a praise to the featured staff member immediately, when patients or families mention their great work, provides the real-time encouragement that can make a huge difference in the middle of a hectic and stressful shift. I know from experience that when you are close to being overwhelmed (often a common occurrence these days) it is easy to feel like no one is appreciating the challenges or the effort it takes to provide safe care. That quick email or text message is like a ‘just in time pat on the back.’ Leaders can add their own gratitude or even remind staff about self-care resources or support networks available to them.
Every praise of a staff member is collected and tracked so that when leaders sit down to create a formal recognition, like the Daisy or a Nurses’ Week Award, all the positive comments are documented right in one place.
Text can be dictated into a smart device at the time of the round so that verbatim comments are collected. These can then be easily copied and pasted into the needed format for the other more formal recognitions. We recently had a client that was very committed to an internal recognition software platform and was worried that using the praise feature might reduce the submissions to that platform. By collecting the many little things that would have been overlooked without the on-the-spot praises, and providing a reminder for leaders to access the other platform, if warranted, a solution was found to produce the best option for using both platforms. We have other clients who have created entire recognition and reward programs around praise functions. One of these is Harris Regional Hospital in North Carolina.
In this world of social media, immediate validation and recognition has become an expectation. Making it fast and easy for leaders to collect and send more recognitions may even proactively exceed those expectations for nurses and other employees giving their all, every day. As we celebrate the official 39th anniversary of National Nurses’ Day and 30 years of National Nurses’ Week it is a great time to look ahead into 2021 making every day ‘nurse recognition day’ for the nurses in our lives.
Happy Nurses’ Day and Week and I am still “Proud to be a Nebraska Nurse.”