50 Ways to Celebrate National Nurses Week

Nurse with patient
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Nurses Gifts & Recognition Ideas for Nurses Appreciation Week 2019

A little bit of appreciation can go a long way, especially when it comes to those who care for others day in and day out. National Nurses Week 2019 on May 6-12 is the best time to show your nurses and nursing team how much you value their efforts. The festivities kick off on May 6, or National Nurses Day, and continue on throughout the week. Learn more about what National Nurses Week is and why we celebrate it.  Not sure how to show your appreciation all week long? We’ve rounded up 50 of our favorite ways to celebrate National Nurses Week:

  • Arts & Crafts
  • Community
  • Events & Activities
  • Food
  • Health
  • Relaxation

Pair the ideas below with Positive Promotions’ exclusive nurses gifts to make this year’s recognition events celebrations to remember.

Arts & Crafts

Add a special touch to your nurses week gifts and celebrations by getting patients, students, or nurses themselves involved. Show your nurses how much you appreciate them with a sentimental, handmade gift.

Artist at work1. Ask patients/residents to sign thank you cards for nurses. Then, distribute the cards along with gifts of appreciation on the first day of the week.

2. Cut out stars from yellow construction paper, write the names of nurses on them, and attach the stars to a bulletin board in a common area of your facility. Place a banner across the top that says “Our Nurses Are Stars!”

3. Trace the hands of nurses on green construction paper and write each nurse’s name on his/her hand. Attach the paper hands to the top of long, narrow pieces of brown paper to make a tree. Put a banner over it that says, “Our Nurses’ Helping Hands Help Our Facility Grow!”

4. Use the help of students to recognize your school nurse. Have them sign an Event Poster. Then, hang it in the nurse’s office.


Even on a day or week when we’re celebrating them, nurses love to give back to the community. Plan a fundraiser or community-oriented event as part of your nurses week activities.

Jumping for joy5. Give everyone a matching T-Shirt to wear. Then, smile and say “Nurses Rock!” by participating in a group photo with nurses from every shift. Submit the photos to a local newspaper.

6. Hold a canned food drive for a local food pantry, and involve all employees at your facility. Take a picture of nurses delivering the food at the end of the week and put the photo in your newsletter.

7. Raise money for a local charity and boost spirits by allowing nurses to wear their jeans for a $1 donation. Let them vote on the organization to donate to.

8. Plant a tree in honor of your nurses. Place a plaque next to it which dedicates it to your nursing staff.

Events & Activities

Go above and beyond when you’re celebrating your nurses by planning special events and hosting themed activities like a Pirate Luncheon or Nurses Night Out.

Bunting flags for celebration9. Decorate a common area of your facility with Balloons and Posters. Surprise nurses with the colorful decorations at the beginning of the week.

10. Enjoy a picnic outside during National Nurses Week. Have dietary services provide sandwiches and salads, and pass out Fleece Picnic Blankets and Backpack Coolers.

11. Hold a surprise staff meeting and “shower” your nurses with gifts, including Umbrellas and other water-related items, such as Water Bottles.

12. Organize a “Nurses Night Out” with fun activities, such as dancing or a live auction. Pass out door prizes, including Fruit Infuser Water Bottles and Charm Bracelets.

13. Recognize nurses for the treasures they are with a pirate-themed luncheon. Stuff Tote Bags full of gifts and put them on a table for nurses to take. Put a sign over them that says, “Here’s a Treasure for the Nurses We Appreciate Beyond Measure!”

14. Use this National Nurses Week to kick off your “Nurse of the Month” Recognition Program. Choose a special nurse who serves as a role model to honor during this first month.

15. Celebrate your nursing students with a special ceremony. Honor them with gifts, such as Clipboards, that they can use when they enter the workforce.

16. Acknowledge the time your nurses have spent working at your facility. Hold a small ceremony and hand out Years of Service Pins.


Nurses are often so busy caring for their patients that they don’t have the time to grab lunch or even a snack. Make sure your nurses are filled with delicious treats all week long.

Mini cupcakes and cookies17. Appeal to everyone’s sweet tooth with an ice cream social. Each afternoon, put out a variety of ice cream and toppings for nurses to enjoy.

18. Celebrate your nurses with a custom-made cake from a local bakery. Order one for each shift for the last day of National Nurses Week.

19. Get out the grill and have a barbecue. Cook up turkey burgers and hot dogs, as well as veggie burgers as a healthier option.

20. Hold dinner at a local winery. Put a token of appreciation at each place setting to surprise nurses when they arrive.

21. Host a luncheon with healthy foods, such as fruits and veggies. There, give nurses Lunch Bags full of tokens of appreciation.

22. Let nurses know that they warm everyone’s heart. As a special treat one day, serve them heart-shaped cookies and hot chocolate in Insulated Tumblers.

23. Make free breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks available to your nurses throughout the week. Be sure to include healthy choices with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

24. Pick a food theme for each day of the week. Surprise nurses with food on Taco Tuesday, Waffle Wednesday, and French Toast Friday.

25. Place an emphasis on pie during National Nurses Week. Ask non-nursing staff to bring in homemade pies for nurses to enjoy.

26. Push a drink cart around your facility and stop by each nurses’ station. Serve up tea and coffee in Travel Mugs.

Games & Contests

Bring more fun and excitement to National Nurses Week with games and contests like Nurse Olympics or Nurse Bingo.

Game board with dice27. Draw the names of nurses each hour during Nurses Week. Make sure each nurse gets a gift.

28. Keep a tally of what your nurses do to go above and beyond. For every five tallies, give a Scratch-Off Card for a prize.

29. Have nurses show off their skills competitively. Schedule fun “Nurse Olympics” with activities such as pushing med carts, counting meds, and dumping bedpans.

30. Hide “germs” around the facility for nurses to find. Attach a ticket to each one. Nurses can turn them in for prizes, including Clipboards and Lapel Pins.

31. Highlight famous nurses of the past, such as Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton. Quiz your nurses about them, and pass out small prizes to those who answer questions correctly.

32. Organize a game of Nurse Bingo. Hand out small gifts to the winners, such as Stethoscope Covers.

33. Test your nurses’ knowledge of the history of nursing. Come up with a quiz and give those who get all of the answers correct a Key Tag or Tote Bag.

34. Set up a scavenger hunt. Make a list of nursing-related items to find. Pass out prizes to the nurses who locate them the fastest.

Gift Ideas

Keep gift-giving exciting all week long by adding a theme to your gift ideas or changing up the way you pass out gifts. Consider letting nurses choose their own gift or handing each gift out personally.

GIft Boxes35. Thank nurses for “holding things together” with a new Badge Holder. Let them choose from three or four different designs.

36. At nurses’ stations, set out a large bowl of Key Chains, Stylus Pens, ID Theft Protection Card Holders, and other items. Then, let nurses choose their own gifts.

37. Give each nurse a gift a day. Set them out at nurses’ stations at the beginning of every shift with personalized gift tags attached.

38. Honor your superheroes in scrubs! Share with nurses the reasons you think they’re superheroes, and give them presents such as Tumblers and Utility Scissors.

39. Make gift-giving as simple as possible—let nurses pick their own tokens of appreciation several weeks before National Nurses Week. Give them a list of options, such as Trunk Organizers and Coolers or Duffel Bags.

40, Tell your nurses that you think they’re “write on!” Hand out Pens and Journals for them to take notes.

41. Make gift-giving more special by handing out items to each nurse personally. Be sure to express your gratitude with a hug or handshake and a sincere “thank you,” too.

42. Distribute a different T-Shirt for every shift. Ask nurses to sport their T-Shirts throughout the week.


Nurses spend most of their day making sure that their patients are healthy. Take some time during National Nurses Week to make sure that all your nurses are in tiptop shape.

Stethoscope with blood pressure cuff43. Focus on keeping your nurses healthy. Promote good nutrition by handing out Salad Containers they can use for veggies and fruits.

44. Hold a health fair especially for your nurses. Offer free blood pressure screenings and hand out educational materials, such as Slideguides and Pocket Pals.


Help your nurses relax after an overnight shift or long day of tending to patients.

Pink and white bouquet of flowers45. Brighten each nurses station with potted flowers, such as daffodils and tulips. Encourage nurses to take them home at the end of the week.

46. Focus on their feet, since nurses are always on them. Give gift bags of foot-themed presents, such as Pedometers, Socks, and Pedicure Spa Kits.

47. Give your nurses a “break” this National Nurses Week. Offer them an extra 15-minute break each shift, KitKat® bars, and Breakaway Lanyards.

48. Pamper your nurses with on-site massages. Offer them items that prolong the pampering, such as Manicure Kits.

49. Teach your nurses some relaxation techniques. Bring in a yoga or tai chi instructor to offer quick classes.

50. Schedule an in-service program during the week and make the topic stress management. Cover healthy ways to deal with stress, such as talking to friends or going for a walk.

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