Nursing

Ask the expert: Recognizing and rewarding nurses

Nurse Leader Insider, October 17, 2011

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This week, Shelley Cohen, RN, MS, CEN, and Dennis Sherrod, EdD, RN, discusses easy ways to recognize nurses that don't cost money but that do pay dividends in retention.

Q: We frequently give out formal recognition and rewards on our unit, but I'm wondering if you could give me some examples of informal ones?

A: The following are some easy ways to recognize staff nurses for doing a good job:

  • Every day recognize a staff nurse or other staff member for a job well done in front of other staff.
  • E-mails that you receive that name a specific person for some accomplishment can be forwarded to the entire staff to recognize the person's accomplishment or good work.
  • Create a "pass along" award. It may be some sort of trophy, a button, or stuffed animal that has meaning to the group. Establish a rule that the recipient must pass the award along to another deserving person within two weeks of receiving it.
  • Give individual staff members their own days. Recognize special people, achievements, or actions by declaring a work date as their day. Announce that next Tuesday is "Chris Smith Day," and ask all the staff to say or do something to contribute to the celebration.
  • Frequently point out what a great team you have.


-Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN, and Dennis Sherrod, EdD, RN

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Editor Rebecca Hendren at
rhendren@hcpro.com and see your name in print! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.



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