24 Gift & Activity Ideas for National Nurses Week 2021

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Nurses are the heart and soul of the medical industry. They have a physically and mentally demanding job and most are not paid what they’re worth.

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If you are close to a nurse, consider yourself lucky. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the nurse or nurses in your life during National Nurses Week. 

Gift Ideas for National Nurses Week

It should be easy to find a gift for National Nurses Week. You can find plenty of personalized gifts for nurses online like coffee mugs, keychains, and wall hangings. 

You could also give nurses something appropriate to their industry. They may appreciate books written for members of the healthcare industry or caregiver books. You might consider the types of gifts you would normally give nurses or nursing instructors and choose something similar.

Here are some more specific gift ideas for National Nurses Week.

DIY or homemade gift ideas

If you are crafty or handy, use some of your skills to create something special. Or if you’re not crafty or short on time, consider checking out Etsy. Purchase an item from a person who has those talents. 

Sweet treats

Bake a tray of cookies or breads to share with your favorite nurse. Present the gift on a beautiful plate or a container. Be aware of allergies or restrictive diets before you present your gift.

You can also include a heartfelt message — nurses usually don’t hear enough “thank yous.”

Decorative glassware

Are you a painter? Consider decorating a piece of stemware for National Nurses Week. Include a note with care instructions and personalize it as much as you can.

Fruit basket

Purchase high-quality fruits and arrange them in an attractive container. Include a few chocolates as well. He or she may appreciate a healthy snack while on break.

Inexpensive gift ideas

You might have an entire staff of nurses you’d like to thank during National Nurses Week! You might want to purchase expensive gifts for all of them but your budget may dictate otherwise. 

Here are some inexpensive gift ideas for a plethora of nurses who are important to you.

Drink run

Ask the staff on duty to tell you their favorite non-alcoholic beverage. Make a run to the nearest convenience store and purchase large drinks they can enjoy throughout their shift. 

Socks

Doesn’t everyone need socks? Purchase a variety of socks in different sizes, colors, and patterns. Let each nurse choose his or her own pair. 

Candy, gum, and mints

There are plenty of clever ways to present candy, gum, and mints. Look on Pinterest for inspiration. The nurses who work a 12-hour shift will appreciate it.

Last-minute gift ideas

Did National Nurses Week sneak up on you? Since the celebration is during a busy part of the year, it’s easy to forget. Here are some last-minute gift ideas. 

Bagel tray

Stop by your favorite bagel store on your way to the hospital or office. Grab a variety of bagels and spreads. You’ll be the hero of the nurses’ station that morning.

Gift cards

Stop by your favorite local coffee shop and purchase a gift card for each nurse on your staff. Call ahead so the gift cards are ready when you arrive.

Flowers

Stop by a local nursery and grab an assortment of annuals. Put down a drop cloth in the break room and let the staff mix and match their favorite types of flowers. 

Luxe or “treat yourself” gift ideas

Treat the nurses on staff to one of these luxury gifts. Nurses spend their lives serving others. Buy something special that will allow your favorite nurse to feel a little pampered.

Sugar scrubs or salt scrubs

Using high-quality sugar scrubs can be rejuvenating. Check the packaging to make sure it’s gender-neutral — male and female nurses may prefer different scents and packaging.

Luxury bath towels

Although it would be nice to purchase each nurse a plush robe, sizing and preferences may make that difficult. Instead, buy several neutral-colored luxury bath towels to give to the nurses.

Aromatherapy products

Some scents invite relaxation. Purchase a lavender, jasmine, chamomile, or vanilla candle or essential oil for your favorite group of nurses.

Eye pillow

Nothing feels better after a stressful day than relaxing in bed with a heated, lightly scented eye pillow that weighs down your eyelids. You can buy these in bulk or make them yourself. 

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Activity Ideas for National Nurses Week

Do something fun for nurses during National Nurses Week — particularly if you’re a nurse manager. Try to come up with an activity that won’t interfere with the serious work at hand but that will allow the nurses to feel noticed and appreciated.

Activities should last for all the shifts and don’t require nurses to come in during off-hours to participate.

Cheap activity ideas

You may have a large group of people to recognize but have a small budget. Here are some activity ideas that won’t break the bank.

Scavenger hunt

Place pieces of paper cut out in the shape of nursing-related items around the office or hospital floor. Each paper should have a different number on it. Make some easy to find and tuck others away so they’re more difficult to see. Tell the nurses to collect the sheets of paper throughout the day.

At the end of the shift, have a drawing to see which number wins a prize. Prizes can be as inexpensive as a lottery ticket or $5 gift card.

Salad bar

Create a salad bar for the nurses to enjoy during their lunch break. This meal should be appropriate for any type of diet. Provide a wide variety of toppings and dressings.

Serenade

Check with a local high school, college, or performing arts group to see if they will serenade your staff if you make a small donation to the program. Nurses are busy, so one song would probably be sufficient. The patients may enjoy the entertainment as well.

Theme ideas

Give National Nurses Week a little extra layer of fun by creating a theme. The theme ideas should be fun but allow the nurses to present a professional environment for the patients. Here are some ideas. 

Beach week

Pass out leis to the staff at the beginning of the week. Give out flip flops, sand pails full of treats, or a beach towel. Decorate the break room with colorful flowers and purchase umbrellas for their drinks.

Sports week

Encourage staff members to wear hats and pins that promote their favorite teams. Ask sports-related trivia and give out prizes. Serve tailgate or stadium foods. 

50s week

Encourage the staff to wear nursing hats from the 1950s. Give out bubble gum and cookies shaped like jukeboxes or cat’s eye sunglasses.

Bulletin board ideas

Use the bulletin boards in the hospital or office to show how much you appreciate your staff.

Guess the baby

Encourage staff members to bring in a baby picture of themselves. Have fun trying to figure out who’s who in each image.

Thank you board

Allow members of the staff to write thank yous to individuals who did something nice for them while at work. 

Favorite quotes

Ask the nurses to share their favorite quotes, poems, lyrics, or verses. Display the quotes for all to see.

Party activity ideas

It’s challenging to come up with party activities appropriate in such a serious environment. After all, nurses and doctors are always surrounded by very sick people or even patients who are dying. 

Here are a few things you can do at work, but most would be more appropriate after hours. 

Bags tournament

Some areas of the country call it cornhole. Others call it bags. No matter what you call it, gather the staff in someone’s backyard and enjoy a tournament. Make sure to vary the time and day so everyone can eventually attend.

Craft night

Look on Pinterest for craft night ideas. Make candles, decorate pottery, or paint a scene. Have someone lead the group in the activity.

Trivia contest

Send out a few trivia questions over email throughout the shift. The questions could be about your local community or the staff members themselves. Give out prizes to the person with the most correct answers.

Chili cook-off

Line the break room with slow cookers full of chili. Have each member of the staff vote on which one is best. The winner gets bragging rights for the year.

Appreciate Your Nurses During Nurses Week

Nurses work incredibly hard. Give them the love they deserve by making their workplace as positive as you can.

By the way, nurses have seen patients of all ages pass away. You don’t know whether your life will be cut short or not. 

Make sure you are prepared by starting end-of-life planning today. Make choices for your funeral ahead of time so your loved ones don’t have to guess about what your wishes may be.

Want to learn more about how you can thank a nurse in your life? Read our guide on the best nursing graduation gifts and National School Nurses Day.

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