6 Creative Nurses Week Activities

Nurses Week Activities

That’s right… Nurse’s Week is creeping up on you. It’s time to start thinking about your Nurse’s Week activities. What will you and your organization do to celebrate your nursing staff?

I know, I know. Planning events can create headaches for some. We keep ourselves up at night worrying, “What if they don’t like it? What happens if no one participates? Will this just be a waste of money?? Do we need to do anything at all this year?”

But c’mon! Nurse’s Week activities are meant to be FUN!

Use Your Nursing Skills

For goodness sake- you do NOT have to plan the Nurse’s Week activities all by yourself. No way!

Any successful leader knows (and implements) the power of delegation. There are definitely not enough hours in the day for you to plan the entire Nurse’s Week on your own. Use your team and share the workload across nurses. It will save you time (and heartache) in the long run!

Tap Into the Nursing Process

Now that you have your Nurse’s Week team in place, it’s time to think nursing process. That’s right: assess, diagnose, plan, intervene, and evaluate.

Ask your nurses what they want. Don’t have time? Base your decisions on the evidence.

A classic article published in The Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA) suggests that professional development and programmatic education is what nurses want over anything else for Nurse’s Week. In this study, 65% of the 727 nurses who responded to the survey stated that they preferred educational opportunities over trinkets or food for their Nurse’s Week activities.

Need some help in creating a plan? We’ve got you covered!

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Book a Nurse Speaker… With a Twist!

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “A nurse speaker? How is this a new idea?”

Ahem… please re-read the above. See how it says: “with a twist”? Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

Sure, you can bring in a nurse speaker to give a talk LIVE and in-person. But will all of your nurse be able to attend? Not very likely. So, what can we do about this?

There are several options. Here are three, just to name a few:

  • You could bring the speaker on site and record the presentation, allowing it to virtually stream out to various locations among your organization.
  • You could tape the speaker and use the presentation as a video that gets emailed out to all of your staff or displayed on your nursing intranet.
  • You could hire a speaker who is able to do the talk remotely, from their own location. That would save you on travel expenses! And -once you figure out the technology (delegate that part out to your IT teams)- you could ensure that the virtual presentation gets circulated among all of your nurses.

Organize a Special Kind of Lunch & Learn

Yup, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Elizabeth… another idea that’s been there-done that… I thought you said NEW Nurse’s Week activities??”

Hold your horses! I’m getting there…

See it says “special” lunch & learn. This isn’t your every day, run-of-the-mill in-service. You gotta create the experience!

Reserve a conference room or other large space at your organization. Set up the tables in a way that conversation is encouraged (e.g. in a large square or circular tables with about 8-10 seats each). Order food from a healthy catering company that is not normally used (trust me, nurses will LOVE a fresh, new meal).

Then- break the time up into two segments. First, show an educational video that the group can watch while they eat. After the video ends, facilitate discussion among the audience. And that’s where you the nurse leader can have a HUGE impact!

Another finding from the JONA article referenced above is that nurses value meaningful recognition. The authors reported that the survey results showed “nurses identify recognition and acknowledgement as fundamental components of nurses week.”

So, don’t just set up the lunch & learn and leave it to your mid-level managers to run the program. Be present at the event yourself and engage with your staff!

Create a Relaxing Experience

Ahhhh…. are you feeling spa day? Me too!

Every year that The Art of Nursing is run, the nurses who request CNE credit have to fill out an overall program questionnaire upon completion of the program.

Here are what just a few of the individual participants had to say about the self-care aspects of this event:

  • Just what I needed. Loved the self-care presenters. We need to take care of ourselves!!!!
  • I realized that self-care impacts me professionally.
  • I liked how a large portion of The Art of Nursing program focused on personal self-care, such as managing stress and ways to increase joy.
  • The last few presentations on self-care were definitely my favorite.
  • The Art of Nursing reminds me why I love being a nurse and gives me the tools to do what I love. I believe self-care is so important and without it I would not be able to remain in health care.
  • I really didn’t know what to expect, I thought The Art of Nursing program would discuss nursing practices, but I was very pleasantly surprised when topics such as burnout and self-care were covered.
  • The Art of Nursing program helped me champion other nurses and address concerns within the organization so that they recognize the need for self-care for nurses. I received great ideas to help to promote self-care for nurses in high pressure jobs.

So, what does this mean for your Nurse’s Week activities?

Your nursing staff deserves a break!

A chance to sit down in a comfortable massage chair… Time to relax and feel pampered… And maybe you cannot bring an entire spa to the workplace… But you can raffle off a gift-basket that is packed with self-care goodies!

Which leads me to suggestion number 4.

Raffle Nurse’s Gifts… In the Spirit of Team!

Now, before we get to the raffle part of this option, we need to talk about team spirit.

Because you might be wondering, “Well, if we run a raffle, what do the nurses have to do to be entered into it??” Great question! Here’s where the teamwork comes in.

This may take some planning ahead- but remember, you have your Nurse’s Week activities group that you can delegate to. OK, here we go.

  • Encourage the nurses to get into teams- maybe based on where they work or some other way that your staff can group themselves together.
  • Then hold a poster contest. And this is not your typical “academic” poster that you see at a conference. Let the nurses get creative with this activity. Encourage them to have fun! (We did this one year for The Art of Nursing program- we raffled off a free group pass to a team of nurses who artistically depicted what the “art” of nursing practice meant to them.)
  • Have the nurses display their artistic talents in the form of a public display of these posters. Enlist the help of your team and create a neutral judge panel.
  • Select a winner and gift them with a special prize. Hey- I’d even offer my nursing books to the prize basket, if you need some gift ideas for the winners.

Tap Into the Age of Technology

Yes, I had to bring it up. Technology is here to stay. And I hate to say it- when it works- it definitely makes things easier!

That and you can provide Nurse’s Week activities to MANY MORE of your nursing staff!

Some of the above options may eliminate the opportunity for every single nurse to engage. Because let’s be honest… how many of you are really going to set up the spa day at night?

So, then what happens?

The night shift nurses suffer and aren’t able to engage in the Nurse’s Week activities.

The Art of Nursing program is an option if you’d like an activity that ALL staff can participate in. Since it is delivered online and nurses can consume the content at their own pace- all staff can take advantage! Even night shift!!

Here’s what one nurse had to say: “Great program! It is wonderful to be able to complete this at your own pace! Thank you!” -Heather, RN

Community Service

Finally, here’s an outside-the-box idea. Get your nursing staff together and organize a community service activity. What better way to encourage team building AND bring the profession of nursing to the public eye?

Getting out there and serving not only helps those in need- it makes the nurses feel good about themselves in a whole new way. You know how they say when we appreciate someone else we really take that recognition and internalize it ourselves?

Imagine how GREAT your nurses will feel after a fun-filled day of helping people out in the communities where they live!

Let’s hear from you! What did we miss? Tell us about another creative Nurse’s Week activity that you’ve got up your sleeve. Don’t keep those awesome ideas to yourself! Sharing is caring- so leave a comment below.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.