Nurses are some of the hardest working professionals. Undoubtedly, nursing is a high-stress career where workers need to be equally compassionate, diligent, and efficient.

But, how do you celebrate a profession that is so often underappreciated? Check out this Spa Week Media guide to learn how to celebrate National Nurses Week.

Related: Co-Branded Gift Cards: The Perfect Gift for Nurses Week

History of National Nurses Week

Photo by MedicAlert UK on Unsplash

National Nurses Week ends on May 12- the birthday of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale. People first began celebrating National Nurses Week in 1954, as this was the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea.

In January of 1974, the International Nurses Council proclaimed May 12 International Nurses Day. In February of that same year, President Richard Nixon proclaimed to dedicate a week of the year to nurses.

In February of 1982, the American Nursing Association officially declared May 6 as National Nurses Day, and in the same year, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation to recognize the day. In 1990, the ANA expanded the day to a weeklong celebration, and in 1993, the organization designated May 6-12 as the permanent dates for observing National Nurses Week.

Treat Your Nurses to Gift Cards

According to a recent survey, 42% of nurses rate their jobs extremely stressful. If you’re looking to help your nursing staff unwind, there’s no better way than with a spa gift card.

Finding a gift that everyone likes can be challenging, but everyone loves a trip to the spa! Spa gift cards can be used for various services, including:

  • Massages
  • Facials
  • Acupuncture
  • Hair removal
  • Chiropractic care
  • Manicures/pedicures

They can also be used for fitness classes and wellness products! All of the above services offer nurses a great way to unwind after a long shift. Studies show that even just a 10-minute massage can activate the body’s system for overcoming stress. Your nurses will leave their spa sessions feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, and ready for a new day of work!

Related: Digital Gift Cards

Give Your Nurses Shoutouts

If there are nurses at your organization going above and beyond with their work, they deserve to be honored with some special shoutouts!

Each day of National Nurses Week, choose one nurse to highlight. You can highlight them in a company email, meeting, or newsletter. Or, you can hold a special lunchtime gathering or after-hours event. Tell the story of their nursing year and what they’ve accomplished while working for your organization.

You can honor nurses who have demonstrated a commitment to their career, reached an important benchmark, shown exemplary patient service, or shown their dedication through years of service. Not only will this make your nursing staff feel special, but it may also motivate others to grow in their careers.

Create a Picture Wall

Creating a picture wall can be another great way to highlight all of the wonderful nurses on your staff. Snap a picture of all of your nurses, or ask them to submit a photo for you. You can also ask patients if they’d like to take photos with their nurses for the wall.

Then, write up small bios on each nurse so staff members and patients can get to know them better and see all of the hard work they do. Some questions you might want to ask for these bios include:

  • What drew you to the nursing field?
  • What’s your favorite part about working as a nurse?
  • What other nurses inspire you?
  • What do you like to do when you’re not busy as a nurse?
  • What advice would you offer future nurses?

These picture walls can be very inspirational to passersby, and they help to humanize your staff and organization.

Offer Thoughtful Gifts

While a spa gift card is probably the ultimate gift you can offer during National Nurses Week, there are some other thoughtful gifts that can help highlight your appreciation for your staff. These include:

  • Shoe inserts: On average, nurses take 16,390 steps per day, so they definitely need comfortable shoes! Shoe inserts can really help keep your nursing staff comfortable.
  • Healthy snacks: Stock the breakroom with healthy snacks for your nurses to keep them energized throughout the day.
  • Priority Parking: If you can swing it with your building, give your nurses priority parking for the week. In big hospitals, this can be a major perk!
  • Gym Membership: You can partner with a local gym to offer free trial periods, free classes, or discounts to your nursing staff.
  • Patient Thank You Notes: Many nurses find that their biggest motivation is their patients. Leave a table out for patients young and old to write thank-you notes to their nurses and gift them to your staff at the end of the week.
  • Comfort Dog: Bring a comfort dog to work for nurses to play with in the break room. Studies find that therapy dogs can help reduce stress.

Organize a Nurses’ Night Out

Photo by Carlos Magno on Unsplash

Organizing a night out can work particularly well in clinical settings where everyone mostly has a 9-5 schedule. You can meet up in someone’s backyard for a BBQ or reserve a room or patio space at a restaurant for everyone to gather.

If you can find a big enough space, encourage your nurses to bring their family members!


There are plenty of ways you can celebrate National Nurses Week and show appreciation toward your staff. Now, it’s time to start planning the celebrations!

If you’re looking to order gift cards for National Nurses Week, click here!