National Nurses Week is an established recognition event celebrated each year from May 6-12. Sponsored and promoted by the American Nurses Association, this week-long event highlights the contributions that nurses make to their communities and calls attention to their working conditions.
Considering the vital roles that nurses, caregivers, and other home care providers have played throughout the challenging conditions of the pandemic, recognition, and celebration of their commitment to caring for others is more important and deserved than ever.
Whether your caregiver team comprises medical or non-medical caregivers (or both), Nurses Week is an ideal opportunity to show your appreciation and honor all of your healthcare heroes for their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice.
Here we offer eight ideas to help you celebrate your caregivers in style during National Nurses Week.
1. Personal acknowledgment and thanks
The power of a simple ‘thank you’ should never be underestimated. You can deliver your thanks and gratitude for a job well done in numerous ways, to let your caregivers know they are valued and appreciated this week, including:
- handwritten personal thank you notes or cards
- verbal recognition via a phone call or video chat
- written thanks via text or email
- reward certificates for individual and/or team achievements
- public recognition via team meetings, newsletters and blogs
- social media campaigns, such as #NursesWeek2022, where people can express their appreciation via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
To make it feel extra special, try to include specific things you are thankful for, and include positive feedback and gratitude from peers, clients/patients and their families.
2. Personal gifts
A Harvard Business School study found that receiving unexpected gifts/rewards improves staff morale and leads to higher productivity and increased retention over time.
Personal gifts can make your caregivers feel recognized and appreciated for their work, and they don’t need to be expensive. Focus on the thought rather than the cost, as simple gifts can still have a considerable impact.
For a wide variety of creative gift ideas, check out our blog: https://smartcaresoftware.com/news/top-28-creative-ways-to-reward-your-caregivers-and-staff/
3. Mental health and emotional well-being support
Workplace stress accounts for as much as $190 billion in healthcare costs. The last few years have left many caregivers feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and burnt out with the countless extra challenges resulting from the pandemic.
National Nurses Week is an ideal opportunity to provide your caregiver team with stress management tools and resources to prioritize self-care and emotional well-being. This can be a focus for the entire week or be something you set up (and communicate) this week that can run throughout the year. For example:
- free mental health and emotional well-being support and training, with trained experts
- relaxing community-building activities, such as yoga, guided meditation, mindfulness, art or baking classes, book clubs, etc. (either in-person or remotely)
- vouchers for a local spa, including a range of relaxing treatments
- ‘time off coupons’ or extra paid vacation time
- pampering treats, such as spa gift baskets, manicures or pedicures, haircuts, or soothing massages.
4. Award ceremony
A great way to bring your caregiver team together to honor their contributions to home care is to hold a celebration team breakfast or lunch (via Zoom if necessary). Here they can enjoy time together, connect, and be celebrated through an award ceremony where you can hand out praise and thanks, gifts, certificates, and more.
If you’re planning to introduce any of the new initiatives recommended in this blog, this is also an ideal time to share them with your team, express how much you value them, and demonstrate your culture of care.
5. Professional development opportunities
If you don’t already have programs for mentoring, upskilling, training and development, these are all excellent ways to celebrate and reward your caregivers over the longer term. Nurses Week is the perfect time to get your plans in order and deliver the good news!
For example, can your agency provide financial support for non-medical caregivers to get their CNA certification? Certifications help caregivers feel professionally valued and more proficient and confident in their roles.
Training programs don’t necessarily need to be high-cost to your agency to be perceived as added value by caregivers, as you can use many of the resources you already have available.
6. Improved working conditions
One of the most effective ways your agency can celebrate your caregiver team and acknowledge the outstanding care they provide is to find ways to support them over the coming months and years in their roles.
Where could your home care agency do better, e.g., better access to mental health resources, higher pay, safe staffing, flexible scheduling, improved communication channels, enhanced caregiver-client matching, providing the right tools for job success, etc.?
Many of these improvements can be made by investing in the right home care software, like Smartcare Software, to streamline processes and make care plan management more efficient and effective.
Ask your caregivers what they need and listen to their feedback to ensure they feel heard, respected, and valued by your agency.
7. Unique benefits
Several studies have revealed that caregivers are more likely to remain with an agency if they receive an attractive benefits package. Use this week as a springboard to ask your caregivers what they want.
Ideas that have worked well for other agencies include:
- certification training
- flexible pay structures, i.e., daily pay/weekly pay (with instant transfers via smartphone)
- software tools that are easy to use and help them to perform their jobs more successfully, like Smartcare’s mobile app
- discounts from local businesses (daycare centers, restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, hairdressers, etc.)
- coaching and mentoring programs
- employee incentive/recognition programs.
During this week, find out what motivates your caregivers and respond accordingly so that you have added-value benefits available for the rest of 2022.
8. Recognition program
If you don’t already have an incentive program in place, consider setting one up as a way to thank your caregivers, create positive momentum, and promote positive company culture. Consider a software tool like Smartcare’s new Caregiver Rewards system, which keeps caregivers engaged and motivated.
These allow your agency to offer rewards for meeting ideal performance criteria, like clocking in on time and reporting accurately. Ensure the rewards offered are things that you know your caregivers will value. It can be a game-changer for your agency if you get this right.
However you plan to celebrate, it’s essential to ensure you keep doing it year-round, to build a robust culture of care and recognition in which all of your caregivers feel continually valued, respected, and appreciated.
By making an effort to honor your caregiver teams and demonstrating meaningful recognition of the work they do for your agency, you can:
- Increase caregiver satisfaction and engagement, improving retention
- decrease recruitment and hiring costs by increasing caregiver retention
- attract best-fit future applicants by showing a culture of care
- improve client/patient outcomes through quality and consistency of care
- promote your agency’s brand and reputation by showing that you genuinely value and care about your team.
For more ideas and resources to celebrate your caregivers this week, the American Nurses Association offers a downloadable toolkit, including marketing resources, customizable certificates, and more.
If you’d like to learn more about Smartcare Software and how we can support your efforts in creating an ongoing recognition program at your home care agency, please get in touch with us or request a free demo.