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Showing Appreciation

Jane writes:

My husband was in the ICU for over a week. During that week I watched as the nurses and doctors did their amazing job. They also made sure I was ok and had support to get through a very tough week. I was so impressed with their caring and compassion. I would really like to do something special for them (the whole ICU), other than just a thank you note. Can you suggest what may be appropriate or offer up some ideas?

Yes! Yes I can!!

It’s sweet of you to think of us during such a difficult time in your life. Whenever a patient and/or patient’s family shows appreciation for us in some way, it never goes unnoticed that they already have 1,000 other things to think about. In our ICU, little gifts of appreciation are always, well, appreciated.

Patient families have given us as a unit (and sometimes individual nurses) several different things. Sometimes they give us flowers, which are pretty, but not edible. Sometimes they write a letter to the CEO, which is forwarded to the unit manager, who puts it up on our board. We have a little bulletin board where she puts cards and letters that we as a unit receive. Families have given us home-made treats (breads, jams, etc) or donuts. By far, the most common thing we receive is boxed candy, almost always from See’s (the Midwest equivalent being Fannie Mae, I suppose).

We once got a gift card to Noah’s Bagels, but it was really quite difficult to use, as someone had to go get the bagels, the charge nurse always had to keep an eye on the card, and we had to keep track of which shift used how much.

I can only speak for my particular unit, but candy or food of some sort is always always always appreciated. There have been times when we’ve been so busy that we’ve been unable to take any breaks at all, and someone will come in with a box of candy… yum :-) Typically, families give one box for each shift (and write on each box “days,” “evenings,” and “nights.” Otherwise… it’s all fair game!). Include a little card saying who it’s from. A big bag of bagels with some different kinds of toppings always goes over well, too.

Again, thank you for taking time out of your situation to show appreciation for us. We as nurses really do like all the goodies our patients and families bestow upon us.

Sometimes we even share with the doctors. :)

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May I add that a card is always welcome, particularly if you remember some of the nurses’ names. In my unit there is a place on the bulletin board where we post them, and they serve as reminders that the job is not entirely thankless or unappreciated.

Another nice idea is an assortment of coffees, teas, and jams!

So, what brought you to the hospital today?

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  • profileI am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!

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