Nurse Appreciation? 10 Things Nurses Wish Patients Would Do

How every week can feel like Nurse Appreciation Week

Nurse AppreciationBy Nanette Wiser, contributor

Imagine this: a handwritten note arrives at the nurses’ station, thanking you for being a comfort to your patient and her family, and appreciating your compassion and skills as a nurse. What a rare and beautiful thing that would be!

Nurses are selfless creatures, and it is obviously your job to care for patients, yet a little nurse appreciation can mean so much. 

[During Nurses Week, and throughout the year, NursesRx would like to thank our hard-working travel nurses for all they do!]

Making a difference in a patient’s health is the ultimate reward for staff and travel nurses, but being appreciated is important, too. In fact, studies have shown that patient satisfaction is related to nurse satisfaction, so there are benefits for both parties if a nurse feels appreciated.

Obviously, nurses shouldn’t expect much from patients who have experienced trauma or who are dealing pain and anxiety from an illness or injury (and may be under the influence of medication.). Yet patients can endear themselves to their nurses with very simple gestures and words.

In fact, here are some of the top things patients can do to show nurses appreciation.

10 ways patients can make nurses feel appreciated—& make their jobs easier:

1. Say thank you and smile. Respect and treat all nurses well. After all, when you vomit or need a bedpan, your nurse will be there.

2. Know your nurse’s name (or at least try to remember) and acknowledge that he or she provided the best care possible. It wouldn’t hurt to praise your nurse’s efforts in front of the attending physician, either.

3. Ask questions about your care, listen to your nurse’s instructions and acknowledge that the information was helpful. If there is something you don’t understand, don’t pretend that you do; ask for clarification or more information.

4. Ask how your nurse’s day is going. Such a simple yet kind thing can be a game-changer for a staff or travel nurse during a long shift!

5. Don’t growl or complain about little things. If your nurse is late bringing you ice chips or water, a little patience is appreciated, especially when he or she is juggling several patients and tasks. 

6. Don’t bug your nurse about things like where you can smoke or why you can’t have dessert, soft drinks or other restricted foods or unhealthy requests. 

7. Do let your nurse know if you feel like something was missed, or if you are unhappy with your care and treatment. Just do it in a calm and constructive manner. Focus on solutions instead of blame.

8. Respect visiting hours and don’t ask your nurse to extend them or allow extra people in the room if it goes against policy. And don’t expect your nurse to fetch your visitors’ food/water/coffee. (They might do the latter on occasion, but don’t treat them like the wait staff, please.)

9. Recognize that getting well is a team effort that involves you as the patient, your family/loved ones, and the nurses, doctors and other health care professionals involved with your care. Nurses will often advocate on your behalf with the rest of the medical team, so let them know what you need. Then do your part by following recommendations.

10. Believe in the possible, and drop the sour outlook, if you can. Never give up trying to get well. Miracles happen every day, and nurses help make them happen. If you are having trouble coping with a diagnosis or other situation involving your health, don’t take it out on your nurse. Instead, ask him or her to connect you with the proper resources, such as a case worker, mental health professional, social worker or chaplain.

When nurses pour their heart and soul into their nursing job, it is nice hear some positive feedback from time to time. In fact, nurses who receive notes of encouragement or thanks from a patient are very blessed indeed, and will often treasure those acts of kindness for years to come. 

Wishing you a Happy Nurses Week, and a full year of Nurse Appreciation Weeks!




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