Every June you get the opportunity to celebrate the staff that takes on hard and uniquely difficult tasks—and they do it without complaint. These medical staffers are beacons of light that are so critical to the day-to-day survival for people, hospitals, and medicine as an industry. That’s why it’s particularly important to make sure you can show them your thanks all year long.
Our Top Nursing Assistant Week Gift Picks
- I Make a Difference Lapel Pins ($35.90)
- Nurse ID badge Reel ($7)
- Kate Spade New York Canvas Tote Bag ($34)
- Adar Pro Scrub Set ($57.49)
Jump ahead to these sections:
- When Is National Nursing Assistants Week and National Career Nursing Assistants Day?
- Why Do We Celebrate National Nursing Assistants Week?
- National Nursing Assistants Week Themes
- Activity Ideas for National Nursing Assistants Week
- Gifts to Give for National Nursing Assistants Week
- Messages to Share for National Nurses Assistants Week
Whether you are looking to brush up on a little Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) history or find out how to celebrate National Nursing Assistants Week well, you’ll find some great tips listed below.
When Is National Nursing Assistants Week and National Career Nursing Assistants Day?
Career Nursing Assistant’s Day kicks off National Nursing Assistants’ Week every June. Each year, starting on the Thursday of the second full week of June, CNAs and all of their hard work are celebrated for a full seven days. Here are the dates for the upcoming years, including 2022.
- 2022: June 16-22
- 2023: June 15-21
- 2024: June 13-19
- 2025: June 12-18
- 2026: June 11-17
Why Do We Celebrate National Nursing Assistants Week?
Certified Nursing Assistants work with nurses to help their patients with daily living needs and other healthcare tasks. It's a newer profession than nursing — discover how it got started and how you can celebrate their work.
How it got started
Officially since 1977, Certified Nursing Assistants have had a national day of appreciation followed by a full week of celebrations.
The beginning of the CNA profession coincided with World War I. At that time, almost 8,000 nurses initially deployed to serve under the Red Cross Program.
Serving alongside U.S. Army nurses, they worked in triage in major areas to treat wounded soldiers as well as fill positions of acute care in reserve, field, base and civilian hospitals. These nurses proved themselves to be tireless advocates for the well-being of American soldiers, simultaneously proving themselves praiseworthy for their bravery and strength.
Six decades after World War I, CNAs would again find the call for action to be unavoidable. After President Ronald Regan signed the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1987, or an act to improve nursing homes, the CNA job market boomed.
How you can celebrate
Recognizing your staffers’ hard work can be one of the most crucial morale boosters you can provide for them.
First, who are these warriors? What do they do day in and day out? How often do they do menial tasks without complaining? If you take the time to highlight all the little things they do, you are raising not only the standards for your staff but also showing how much you value their work and their attitudes. Furthermore, you also improve overall hospital care.
Second, you can make CNA appreciation a hospital-wide event. Online, you can find pre-made social media posts, on top of advertisement graphics to send to the local newspaper. In addition, you can purchase posters, balloons, a cake for the office, and more. This is just another way to make them feel as special as they are.
Third, get the entire staff involved by wearing buttons, t-shirts or both. If you make the culture of the whole company from the boardroom down conscious of their daily contributions, you help provide support and transparency to encourage respect for this tough staff. Besides, giving people buttons to pin on their scrubs can make for excellent conversation starters.
If you break it down, you’ve only got one full week to make sure that your CNA staff knows you value their hard work, which means you only have seven full days to shine a little sunshine back to those who hustle every day.
National Nursing Assistants Week Themes
This year, many care facilities are celebrating the 45th annual National Nursing Assistants Week to honor those who’ve dedicated their careers to the service and well-being of others. Let’s look at a few themes your team can implement to highlight a few of their most outstanding achievements throughout the year.
Nursing Assistants: Creating a Community of Caring
CNAs work with doctors and nurses in hospitals, care facilities, medical clinics, and home aide facilities. Their work resonates throughout the entire community. So, try bringing in support and sponsorship from outside resources like:
- Collect cards with signatures from local businesses.
- Design and print “Creating a Community of Caring” flyers and then ask local shops to post them inside their window fronts for the week.
Nursing Assistants: Heroes with Heart
It takes a lot of heart and care to monitor patient vitals and behavior, help patients eat or take medications, and support patient mobility, bathing, and grooming. Return similar kindness to your hero CNAs with personal care opportunities provided by:
- Massage therapists can give 15-min head, neck, and shoulder massages on breaks.
- Yoga instructors can share various stretching and back care poses for work or home.
- Aromatherapists can craft unique blends of relaxing essential oils for staff members.
Nursing Assistants: Courage, Strength, and Perseverance
All care and service industries have experienced some adversity over the last few years, and your CNAs are still standing — still going strong. For that reason, “Courage, Strength, and Perseverance” makes a great theme idea for this year.
- Print out each CNA’s photo and display it in an appropriate location with this year’s theme words wrapped around their image.
- Offer recyclable shopping bags with the exact theme words printed on the outside. Include items like mint lotion for those tired feet and legs or weighted eye masks.
Allina Health: We Have Pride in Our CNAs
CNAs are notable for their people skills, especially empathy, compassion, patience, and kindness. Celebrate those talents by using the same words on cakes, cupcakes, printed t-shirts, and any other gift made for your CNAs this year.
Activity Ideas for National Nursing Assistants Week
Given that it is a full week of celebrations, if you haven’t started planning your CNA appreciation week, you are already behind. Your tireless staffers deserve all the accolades you can bring them.
You should even be planning for next year long before this year’s events end. Here are a few options.
Start with a kick-off campaign and end with a bang!
Get CNA-appreciation week off to a good start with some breakroom events, contests, and treats. Continue all week-long building up the contests, treats, and boosting morale.
Finally, end the week with a bang by giving away the best raffle prize of the bunch.
Individually recognize each and every one of your team
Each one of them has a special place in your heart and in the hearts of your patients. Don’t forget to take a special moment for each one of your CNA staffers by either sharing your appreciation with everyone else or conducting a short meeting with them one-on-one.
Do they have a tireless smile? A can-do attitude? Are they always volunteering to help out and dig in when it gets crazy? In the end, it’s good to let everyone else know why you appreciate their work.
Go out to the community to bring them inside to yours
Bring leaders of the local community into your hospital like the city council, mayor, police chief, and fire chief to help shower accolades on your incredible staff. Also, encourage your board of directors to show up as well so they can see their widespread impact.
If it makes sense, invite the local newspaper to cover the weeklong celebration or write a special feature about your staffers. Promoting your staff not only showcases the value of your organization in your local community, but also provides an in-depth look at the hard work needed to run such a place.
Hold a CNA-only raffle and only raffle awesome prizes
What’s better than starting that Thursday with giveaways and really cool prizes? First, decide on your budget, then go buy that recumbent bike or six-month yoga membership to raffle off.
No matter what your budget is, you are certain to find that perfect something to encourage a fun, healthy boost of energy for your staff.
Baking heart-shaped pizzas, pastries, and everything else
Unless you won the Great British-Baking Show or have a chef in your back pocket, you may need some help on this one. When you were planning your week of festivities, you probably built a theme around an idea.
For example, if your theme is to show the importance of your staff by comparing them to a beating heart, then perhaps you can order an electrocardiogram of bell peppers or mushrooms on the pizza. Otherwise, consider making small heart-shaped cakes or a large anatomically-correct cake with all the valves and arteries presented. Give your staff the opportunity to imagine themselves as surgeons.
Gifts to Give for National Nursing Assistants Week
If you have a dynamite CNA, you may have a lot to appreciate from them. They probably hear everything, offer spot-on support every time, or may have a great sense of humor for all they do.
Consider a few of these gift ideas so you can let them know how thankful you are for all their hard work and dedication.
Appreciation lapel pin
This is a sweet gesture for any Certified Nursing Assistant on your staff. With a nice, ornate, and simple lapel pin, this is something they can hold onto their entire lives, and perhaps pass down to their grandkids. We like these lapel pins that say "I make a difference."
Switch them up yearly so that your long-term staff can have options when they put on their scrubs.
Fancy retractable ID badge reels
Consider purchasing a few ID badge reels for your staff. Not only are they incredibly useful, but having an extra bit of personalization can make them smile. It’ll be nice for them to remember how much you appreciate them every time they clip their ID on their scrubs.
You can find ones with different colors and designs online, like these ID badge reels. Also, purchase more than one badge reel, just for backups in case they break.
Personalized office wear
Hospitals are notoriously cold. That means a really warm personalized half-zip sweatshirt, like this one from Amazon, would come in super handy.
If you get the name of your hospital embroidered on it as well as their initials, then you can have an awesome crew giving you dynamite advertising.
Personalized CNA tote bag
Encourage your staff to reuse bags, and provide them a nicely illustrated or screen-printed tote, like this one. You can pack it with useful items like tumblers, t-shirts, and some caregiver and healthcare books as well.
One of the main reasons to add the books could be to encourage continued learning and the opportunity to excel.
A new set of scrubs
Well-made scrubs can run over $50, so a perfect gift could be a new set of scrubs—or two. To make this easy, just pick the same color for everyone or offer a variety of colors in different sizes for them to choose from. We like the Adar Pro scrub set.
If you need more recommendations, check out our picks for the best gifts for nurses.
Messages to Share for National Nurses Assistants Week
This year's National Nurses Assistants Week aims to recognize and celebrate those CNAs that your team can't live without. Use any of the following greeting messages on a card or post them on social media to show everyone your gratitude for the fantastic nursing staff at your care facility.
Messages for a nursing assistant's card
- (From a patient) “You helped me get through these difficult times with patience and humility. Without you, I would not have come so far so fast in getting well. So, a warm thank you is greatly deserved on this National Nursing Assistants Week.”
- (From a patient) “I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for every step you took beside me on this healing journey. You were patient, kind, and always had a smile. Your tireless work is appreciated this week and every day of the year. So, I wish you a Happy Nursing Assistants Week.”
- (From a boss) “Nursing Assistants Week reminds everyone here on the staff to take a moment and recognize the incredible work you do for the good of our patients and to help everyone on this team succeed at doing our very best.”
- (From a boss) “Happy National Nursing Assistants Week! We want to thank you for all you do here at Allina Health. Sometimes the job can seem unappreciated and demanding, but you are part of the foundation that helps our team run smoothly. For that, we are all grateful.”
- (From a coworker) “Happy National Nursing Assistants Week to a wonderful nurse and remarkable human being! We're so grateful for all you do to help the team and our patients.
- (From a coworker) “Happy National Nursing Assistants Week! Thank you for being a fantastic addition to our team. We couldn't do this without you.
Messages or posts to share on social media
- "The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest." — William Osler
- "A nurse is compassion in scrubs." – Lexie Saige
- "We won’t always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What’s important is that you do care and you act." — Charlotte Lunsford
- "For the sick, it is important to have the best." — Florence Nightingale
- "There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver." — Rosalyn Carter
- "Nurses are the heart of healthcare." — Donna Wilk Cardillo
- "From caring comes courage." — Lao Tzu
- "Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." — St. Francis of Assisi
- "Nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription." — Val Saintsbury
- "Nursing encompasses an art, a humanistic orientation, a feeling for the value of the individual, and an intuitive sense of ethics, and of the appropriateness of action taken." — Myrtle Aydelotte
- "As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou
Can’t Do it Without You Week!
Once you’ve laid out the framework on what or how to celebrate, the rest is easy. As this is just seven days of showing your admiration, thanks, and appreciation, you’ll be setting the groundwork to have a more cohesive and reliable staff.
Hopefully, you will have another fifty-one more weeks of incredible people doing incredible things.
Looking for more on days that honor healthcare workers? Read our guides on National Assisted Living Week and Nephrology Nurses Week.
Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
- 42nd Annual National Nursing Assistants Week. 2019. CNA Network. Cna-network.org
- Contributions of the US Army Nurse Corps in WWI. 2020. The Army Nurse Corps Association. E-anca.org
- The History of the CNAs. 2020. CNA Buzz. Cnabuzz.com