Nurses, You Make a Difference! National Nurses Week 2022
Nurses have always played a critical role in the healthcare system, but the last two years have shown the world just how essential they are to public health. Not only do nurses and nursing professionals serve as the frontline of healthcare and the first and primary point of contact with patients, but during the pandemic, when visitors were limited, nurses were often the last kind eyes a dying patient saw.
Caring for and supporting patients during COVID-19 has been exceptionally hard on nurses. Burnout, mental health challenges, and constant exposure to a deadly disease have all made for a very challenging time for nursing professionals all over the world. And still, they provide care day in and day out—with love, grace, and selflessness.
May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and we want to use this opportunity to thank all the nurses out there for everything they do! Read on to learn about the history of this week of appreciation, some local nurse heroes, and discounts nurses can take advantage of to care for themselves.
History of Nurses Week
After several attempts off and on to establish an official nurse’s day from the early 1950s, in 1974, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) was finally able to declare May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, as International Nurse Day.
In 1978, the New Jersey governor rallied to have May 6 designated as a statewide day for nurses. In 1982, the American Nurses Association (ANA) followed suit to designate May 6 as the “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
In 1990, the ANA Board of Directors expanded this one day to an entire week of recognition, called National Nurses Week, from May 6 through May 12. In 1997, May 8 was designated as “National Student Nurses Day,” and in 2003, the Wednesday within National Nurses Week every year was established as “National School Nurse Day.”
This year’s National Nurses Week theme, Nurses Make a Difference, celebrates everything nurses do to benefit the lives of patients, families, communities, and other healthcare providers.
Florida Nurse Heroes
Every nurse is a hero, selflessly giving of themselves and sacrificing their own mental and physical health to care for others in their times of need. From ensuring that hospital patients can celebrate the holidays away from family to helping critically ill patients find a peaceful ending, nurses are everyday champions.
Below are just some of Florida’s true nurse heroes over the past couple of years.
Lindsey Fairchild: Treating Patients Like Her Own Father
In a Volusia County hospital, ICU nurse Lindsey Fairchild has watched people fight for their lives throughout the pandemic—caring for patients of all ages and health statuses.
After losing her father to COVID-19 in 2020 and not being allowed to sit by his bedside, Fairchild understood on a deeper level how essential her role was in comforting those who were alone and without loved ones. This empathy renewed her commitment to fighting for her community and advocating for patients who can no longer advocate for themselves.
“I see my dad in a lot of my patients. You understand what their families are going through and how painful that has to be to not be there with them,” she says. She encourages her community to get vaccinated and protect each other.
Hailey Hester: Traveling to a City in Great Need
At the start of the pandemic, when New York City was overrun with COVID-19 cases, Orlando ER nurse Hailey Hester saw the need and left her family to go help a community struggling under the weight of the pandemic.
On April 4, 2020, Hester started her journey at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, where every floor had been turned into an ICU unit. “I just kept seeing videos and articles and nurses up here in New York asking for help and it was just something I couldn’t ignore. I had to come.” After 21, 12-hour shifts over a month, Hester returned home with a new understanding of the severity of the pandemic and the heroism of healthcare workers.
Grace Meatley: Giving the Human Touch in Frontline Care
As a Jackson Memorial Hospital ICU nurse assigned to the main COVID unit, Grace Meatley saw countless COVID-19 patients during the pandemic. Despite the mental and physical toll caring for patients over the past two years took on her health and a lucrative job offer elsewhere, Meatley was “determined to get back to Jackson every day and send patients home.”
In the midst of detangling driplines and sorting pumps and tubes, she made sure every patient experienced communication and human touch—such as a back rub, a warm bath, and reassurances. “I pray for the patient, and the family that can’t be there. Each person has their own story and I try to be enriched by each life.”
Nia Gand: Newly Minted Nurse Powering Through
Seasoned nurses at least had several years of experience under their belts before being thrown into the chaos of a pandemic. But more recent nurse graduates had to enter the field with little to no experience.
Nia Gand was only on the job at Tampa General Hospital for a few months before the pandemic hit. Treating critically ill patients younger than her was sobering, especially knowing that many were unvaccinated. But she dove in and gave her all to keep providing care. “It was rough and crazy times, and we did unimaginable things, and as a nurse we had to stretch pretty far to save patients. It was a crazy time for everyone,” she says.
Nurses Week 2022: Discounts and Freebies
National Nurses Week is the perfect time to thank nurses for all they do. Many organizations and businesses do this by providing nurses with special offers to mark this week of recognition.
- BAYADA Home Health Care: For National Nurses Week, BAYADA is holding a Getaway Giveaway contest. Nurses can enter to win $2,500 toward a getaway of their choice.
- Florida Nurses Association: FNA is offering an online educational summit from May 9 through May 13. Nurses can receive discounted member rates on five continuing education courses, including webinars on human trafficking, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, etc.
- NursesWeakGifts: From May 4 through May 12, nurses can submit photos of their, ahem, “weak” gifts (like that well-intentioned but useless lollipop or pet rock) to social media. The first 1,200 submissions will receive a thoughtful appreciation gift from connectRN curated by a community of nurses.
- Selina: Travel company, Selina, is offering nurses a chance to win accommodations at Selina locations across the globe to rest and recharge. Two winners will get 30 nights free, eight winners get seven nights, and ten winners get two nights. Apply by May 15 for your chance to win!
- Western Governors University: Not only do nurses get to waive the application fee for admission this week, but WGU is offering 200 Nurse Appreciation Scholarships of up to $4,000 each for nurses wanting to earn their bachelor’s or master’s nursing degrees. WGU will accept applications through June 30, 2022.
Fortunately, many companies choose to recognize nurses year-round with discounts on products and services. Some businesses offer discounts directly on their websites, while others use third-party services to provide identity proofing and group affiliation verification. You can check out ID.me and SheerID for ongoing discounts for nurses and medical professionals.
Below is just a sampling of some of the companies that offer discounts for nurses throughout the year:
- Adidas: Nurses can get 30% off online and 20% off at Adidas factory outlet stores.
- AT&T: Nurses and their families are eligible for a discount on unlimited cellular plans.
- backcountry.com: Healthcare workers can get 20% off certain full-price purchases.
- BP: Nurses get up to $0.15 off per gallon of gas for 60 days.
- Brooklyn Bedding: Get 25% off plus free shipping.
- Danform Shoes: Nurses can use the SUPERHERO20 code to get 20% off footwear, including popular Dansko clogs.
- Hyatt: Healthcare professionals get Hyatt’s Friends & Family rate worldwide through June 30, 2022.
- Lululemon: Licensed nurses get 15% off every purchase.
- Outback Steakhouse: Nurses get 10% off their entire check every time they dine here.
- Reebok: Reebok offers 50% off for medical and hospital workers.
- Rothy’s: Medical professionals receive 20% off a pair of washable shoes.
- Roxy: U.S. healthcare workers receive 30% off every purchase.
- Talkspace: Healthcare workers and first responders can receive 50% off the first month of this online therapy platform.
- Verizon: Nurses can get up to $10 off per line for unlimited plans.
- Vineyard Vines: Nurses and other healthcare professionals get 15% off everything.
- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin: Nurses receive special rates at deluxe Marriott resorts.
How to Show Nurses Your Appreciation
Whether a loved one is a nurse, you’ve had an exceptional experience with a nurse on your own healthcare team, or you want to show your appreciation in general, there are many ways to let nurses know you care this week and beyond.
Food and Gifts for Nurses
Setting up your local hospital or healthcare facility with a catered lunch during National Nurses Week is an easy way to show your appreciation. Nurses are always on the go, so a healthy meal waiting for them in the break room can make all the difference in their day.
A catered coffee bar or gift cards to a local coffee shop can also give nurses the energy to get through a challenging shift.
If sweets are more your style, you can show your appreciation by sending the nurses in your life cookie gift baskets from Mrs. Fields. Nurse-specific cookie gifts are 20% off during Nurses Week!
Nominating a healthcare hero to win something that will make their life a little easier is another way to show you care. Several companies offer raffles and contests during Nurses Week.
Is your favorite nurse a fan of Chipotle? If so, head to Chipotle’s Nominate a Healthcare Hero page now through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 6 to nominate them. Winners receive one burrito entrée per week for an entire year!
Do you know nurses who work in long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC)? If so, you can nominate an LTPAC nursing professional for a $50 Amazon gift card (bonus: if they win, you get a gift card also!).
Sentinel U is also accepting nominations (due May 6 at midnight) for its Nurses Week contest. Two winners will receive one-year subscriptions for meal kit delivery, which includes three meals per week (for a family of four) for a full year.
Employer Appreciation for Nurses
Hospitals and other associations often take time on Nurses Week to recognize the nurses on staff who make a difference day in and day out. Here’s how some organizations in Florida are choosing to celebrate nurses.
In addition to receiving gifts, goodies, and meals throughout the week, nurses at Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale can participate in a ceremony, roving chair massages, and fun photo opportunities.
On Thursday, May 12, the Florida Nurses Association is hosting an appreciation event from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Nurses can participate in massage, meditation, and acupuncture sessions, along with raffle drawings and a silent auction for an Ultimate Wellness Week.
Advocating for Pay Increases for Nurses
Of course, many nurses would agree that ensuring proper compensation is the best “thank you” they can receive in a profession where so many are asked to do so much. For those who aren’t in an executive position with a healthcare provider or otherwise have direct input on nurse pay, you can consider advocating for higher pay for nurses.
There are numerous petitions online circulating where individuals can sign on to this, including a leading one asking for hazard pay for nurses and other healthcare professionals.
A Simple Thank You
Rest assured, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money or go all out to recognize nurses this week. A simple thank you card, phone call, or positive feedback can make the nurses in your life feel appreciated and cared for. This week, take the time to do one kind thing for a nursing professional!