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Nurses Week Celebrations Around the World

Published May 02, 2011        by Sarah

Image by DIAC Images on FlickrEvery one of us knows a nurse who has touched our life in some way. It could be a kind nurse at the pediatrician's office who helped your child be brave through his vaccines. It could be a caring staff member at a nursing home who gave an elder in your family extra good care. Whoever these angels of mercy are, they are special. They show up at the times we need them and make life easier for everyone.

There wasn't always a special day or week set aside for Nurses. In 1974, President Nixon put Nurse's Week into the calendar for good. It is celebrated in the US from May 6-12 each year. For more information, you can visit the American Nurses Association website.

Different countries celebrate the week in different ways. But all celebrations are designed to laud the contributions of hard-working nurses. In England, for example, nurses gather in Westminster Abbey. A lamp is lit and passed from nurse to nurse. It is said to signify the transfer of knowledge from one to another. May 12th also happens to be Florence Nightingale's birthday.

In the United States, gifts for nurses usually consist of cards, candy, cookie bouquets, or other small gifts. Patients and their families often stop by the hospital to remember a nurse who was especially kind to them during an illness.

Here are some ideas on how you can gift a nurse in your life:

  • Keep in mind that many nurses work with others and not alone as a force of one. So if you're going to give a gift at the hospital, consider making it one that others on staff can enjoy as well. And remember that there is a night as well as a day and evening shift. Your nurse may not be on at the time you deliver your gift, but the staff should keep it for her until she comes in the next time. If it's perishable, you may want to get her schedule for the next few days and return when she is present. That's another reason giving a gift that all on the floor can share. You don't want to appear ungrateful for any others who may have cared for your family member.
  • Realize that different floors of the hospital have different rules and protocol. You don't want to come in waving a huge bunch of balloons on a cancer floor or the ICU as it may be considered inappropriate. You also don't want to show up with food that's going to have to sit at the counter on a ward that houses infected patients. Consider wrapped items in that case like individual nurse cookies.
  • Base your gift on your nurse's likes and interests. If she has mentioned that she's a mystery book lover, get her a book store gift card. Or if she is a cat lover, get her a cat themed item like a little statue or small home decor item.
  • Don't go overboard. A small token is enough. If your nurse has been especially helpful and gone out of her way, show your appreciation with a card, handwritten of course, and a bouquet of flowers, or a nice box of chocolates. Don't feel you have to break the bank to say thank you.