A Guide to National Nurses Week 2021: Date, Activities & 'Thank You' Ideas

Updated

Nurses are a valuable part of our healthcare system, though they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Like doctors and other caregivers, they’re selfless, kind individuals who dedicate their careers towards patient care and wellness. National Nurses Week is a yearly opportunity to say thanks to the nurses making a difference. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

Each year, healthcare organizations and communities join together to celebrate nurses. National Nurses Week is the time to raise awareness about the value of nursing as well as educate the public about the role nurses play in modern healthcare.

These are the caregivers offering personalized, dedicated attention to every patient, and saying “thank you” is always important. In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to celebrate National Nurses Week. 

When Is National Nurses Week?

National Nurses Week (NNW) is the same week every year. It begins on May 6 and ends on May 12. This date wasn’t an accident. May 12  is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This historical woman is the founder of modern nursing, so it only makes sense that her birthday marked the end of this important week. 

NNW includes several days specifically for honoring different types of nurses:

  • National Student Nurses Day is May 8 every year
  • National School Nurse Day is May 12, 2021
  • International Nurses Day is May 12 every year

Individual communities might also have their own dates for celebrating their nurses. Though the work they do is different, every nurse is selflessly giving to others in one way or another. 

What Is National Nurses Week?

Despite the political questions around healthcare in the U.S., there’s one thing we all agree on—nurses are trustworthy. According to a 2018 survey, nurses are ranked top as the most trusted healthcare providers. More than 4 in 5 Americans rate nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high.” 

NNW is a chance to celebrate these nurses for all they do. It’s when patients and healthcare providers alike share their appreciation for nurses and their role. There are a number of community events, activities, and gift-giving opportunities in honor of NNW.

This is also a time when retailers, service providers, and organizations offer special deals and incentives to those who give their all every day. 

How it all got started

NNW wasn’t always celebrated, though nurses have always been deserving of our respect and appreciation. After several attempts to get this week officially acknowledged by the United States, it finally became permanent in 1993 thanks to the American Nursing Association

This association wanted a way to both celebrate and elevate the nursing profession within the healthcare community. Today, Nurses Week is honored by a number of organizations, membership programs, and even local businesses. 

How to celebrate

There are a number of ways to celebrate Nurses Week no matter whether you’re a nurse yourself or you just appreciate the work they do. Within healthcare organizations like hospitals or other facilities, this is a great time to shine a light on the nurses who go above and beyond. There might be special awards or ceremonies for those achieving greatness in nursing. 

Another way to celebrate is to just listen. Every nurse has a story to tell, and they might need to feel heard. As caregivers, they’re often the ones people lean on in times of need. They might want someone to turn to in return. You could be that person. 

Finally, offer community events to raise awareness about the work nurses do. From giving nurses a day of fun and relaxation to honoring those who do amazing work, this is something the entire community will love to be a part of. 

Freebies you can get

To honor the work nurses do, many retailers and services offer freebies during NNW. While these discounts vary depending on the year, these are the promotions that companies offered in the past:

  • 1-800-Flowers: To send flowers to yourself (or a loved one), 1-800-Flowers typically has a coupon for nurses for a percentage off a bouquet. 
  • Amazon: During Nurses Week, Amazon often offers free nursing books, healthcare books, caregiver books, and so on to raise awareness. 
  • Chick-fil-A: Many local Chick-fil-A restaurants offer free sides, drinks, or snacks for nurses. 
  • Chipotle: Each summer, Chipotle offers medical professionals BOGO 50 percent off
  • Cinnabon: During Nurses Week, Cinnabon offers a free classic roll if you show a valid nurse ID. 
  • CVS: In the past, CVS handed out free cards in honor of National Nurses Week. These are typically available while supplies last. 
  • Dunkin Donuts: Score a free iced coffee with a valid healthcare ID during Nurses Week at participating Dunkin locations.
  • Einstein Brothers Bagels: Nurses get a free bagel and shmear when they wear scrubs at participating locations. 
  • Enlightened Ice Cream: Check the Enlightened Ice Cream website during Nurses Week to snag a coupon for a free pint of ice cream. 
  • Geico: For members of the Association of Women’s Health and Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Geico offers insurance discounts
  • Medisave: Get a discount on nursing shoes during NNW. 
  • Scooter’s Coffee: Both teachers and nurses get 50 percent off any drink.
  • Uniform Advantage: Nurses receive 50 percent off all uniforms during NNW. 
  • Walt Disney World: For a discount on your Disney World vacation, the Swan and Dolphin Resort offers a special rate for nurses
  • Westgate Resorts: Snag 10 percent off the best rate with Westgate Resorts by using code NURSE10

Aside from retail and food discounts, many programs and organizations offer free or low-cost webinars and seminars. 

  • Achieve Test Prep: Access a free 1.5-hour virtual class about the essentials of nursing. 
  • American Nurses Association (ANA): Check-in during Nurses Week for a free webinar about elevating the nursing profession. This course counts as one CNE contact hour. 
  • American Nurse Today: Receive a free subscription for joining the mailing list during Nurses Week. 
  • Nurse Journal: Attend a free online course designed for nursing students. 
  • Unbound Medicine: Get a 30-day free trial to Unbound Medicine’s mobile app

What to Write in a Card for National Nurses Week

One of the best gifts for nurses and nursing instructors is also the simplest. A card is a great way to say thank you to someone who made an impact on your life. Taking a few moments to write about how you feel makes a strong impression. If you’re not sure what to write, use this list of nursing quotes or start with these ideas. 

During National Nurses Week, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for everything you do. I’m so glad you went into nursing. Your service to this profession and your patients is always appreciated. Thank you so much!

You give the nursing profession a good name. I have neverending respect for the work you do and your passion. I can’t thank you enough, but I’ll start with this card. 

Your expertise proves that nurses are essential healthcare providers. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know how I would have recovered so quickly. Thank you for always being there for me. 

I’ll never underestimate the power of a nurse. I don’t know what I would have done without you. I’m sure you get this a lot, but thank you for all that you do. 

Real heroes wear scrubs. You’re my favorite superhero, and you’re an amazing human being. Thank you for helping me feel my best. I’ll never forget your passion and knowledge. 

Honor the Nurses in Your Community

National Nurses Week is a chance to really reflect on the role nurses play in healthcare and your community. Whether you’re a nurse yourself or you’ve personally been affected by one, we can all agree this is a valuable, rewarding role. 

Nurses do their work with passion, empathy, and understanding. They don’t ask for anything in return, yet they dedicate their careers to helping others. Now that you know the importance of National Nurses Week, you’re prepared to spread awareness in your community. 

One of the best ways to honor nurses and other healthcare providers is to take your own health into your hands. Start end-of-life planning today to begin asking these important questions about your own future. Nurses know more than anyone that the most important thing we all have is our health. How will you value yours?

Want to learn more about days dedicated to healthcare workers? Read our guide on Pediatric Nurses Week and Social Work Month.


Sources

  1. Brenan, Megan. “Nurses Again Outpace Other Professions for Honesty, Ethics.” Gallup. 20 December 2018. Gallup.com.
  2. “National Nurses Week.” American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. AANA.com
  3. “National Nurses Week History.” American Nurses Association: Nurses World. NursingWorld.org

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.