Tips from TSE: Low-cost ways to recognize your nurses

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, December 19, 2008

Recognizing and rewarding nurses should not be a once-a-year event during Nurses Week; it should be a part of every unit's culture. But recognizing a job well done doesn't have to be expensive. Here are four low-cost strategies to help you celebrate your nurses' success, thank them for a job well done, or just let them know you're thinking about them:

  • Post-it power: Leave your employees a note thanking them, telling them you noticed they did a good job, or simply letting them know you're glad they're on your team.
  • Sugar magic: Don't just bring in a box of doughnuts. Personalizing the treat makes it meaningful and memorable. Give a roll of Life Savers candy to a staff member who comes in to work an extra shift, and tell the staff member he or she is a "lifesaver."
  • Points mean prizes: Create a simple points program among the staff on your unit, or work with the organization as a whole to create a more elaborate one. Points can be awarded for behavior such as helping out in a staffing emergency or for helping out, without being asked, a new staff member who is still getting used to your unit. Points could also be tied into professional development, such as rewards for passing certification or just for bringing in an evidence-based article the person found interesting and sharing it with colleagues.
  • Build collegial relationships: Working in a collegial environment is a key part of creating a positive workplace and improving retention, and small rewards or group activities help foster relationships. Organize a cookie exchange between departments. Choose two or three departments your unit interacts with regularly and designate a day to exchange cookies.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the December issue of The Staff Educator. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to The Staff Educator!


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