Harness the Power of Recognition: Nurses Week and Beyond 

Updated on May 8, 2024

In my role as chief nursing officer, it is a top priority to recognize and support our nurses year-round; to empower them to practice at the top of their licenses; and to provide the tools and resources they need to not only succeed in their lifelong careers, but to feel fully energized and fulfilled.

Nurses Week, May 6 – 12, is all about that recognition for the nurses who give and do so much for the betterment of our communities and our organizations. We all know caring and selfless nurses who will give until they reach compassion fatigue. Recognition is one of many ingredients necessary to refill their cups. Recognition renews us, shows us we are valued, and reenergizes our sense of purpose—the reasons why we love what we do.

Of course, recognition matters to our organizations year-round because it significantly improves employee engagement and satisfaction, which in turn, bolsters retention.  With less turnover, we retain valuable nursing knowledge and relationships and can provide the best continuity of high-quality care. That continuity is critically important to our home health care clients.

To become an integrated, authentic part of your corporate culture, recognition needs to be 1) expected and 2) easy. Leaders need to build it into their infrastructure, both in formal awards and in everyday moments. 

Here are some guiding principles that have worked for us, inspired by our mission statement, The BAYADA Way:

Treat others the way they wish to be treated.

Make smart investments by asking your nurses what kinds of reward and support systems are most meaningful and valuable to them. Then, when you align your initiatives with that, ask for their feedback to continually reassess and improve. 

Recognize and reward the highest standards of excellence.

Recognition programs should be designed to get all stakeholders involved in expressing their appreciation—employees, patients, leaders, and community partners. Peer-to-peer recognition is extremely powerful. Create easy ways for colleagues to acknowledge and reward each other. 

For us, this ranges from shoutouts and e-cards to local, regional, and national Hero Awards to “BAYADA Bucks” redeemable from our gift catalog, all housed on one social intranet for rewards and recognition, BAYADA Celebrates. There, we also promote resources for employee health, wellness, and work-life balance, recognizing the demands of our profession.  

Continuously improve through evaluation, education, and training.

Invest in professional education and career pathways so nurses can grow and thrive within your organization. 

For us, this ranges from world-class training and continuing education programs to  Presidential Scholarships for college, preceptor and mentoring programs, memberships in professional associations, and a Career Exploration site where nurses can explore career path opportunities and learn from those who currently work in those roles what they will need to be successful.

Listen closely, show empathy, and respond to the needs of others.

Infuse the voice of the nurse into everything. There’s no better way to respect and value the expertise of your nursing staff than by creating regular opportunities for them to put it to use. 

For us, popular Roundtables empower nurses to generate new ideas and to help design their own work processes. Our clinical office leaders host and attend their own monthly education sessions. My team meets with a Clinical Advisory Board representing every region to help steer everything that impacts our nurses, from policies to tools to programs. And Renewal Retreats are bringing nurses together to focus on their own self-care and stress management. Evaluations have called their experience “the most genuine, heartfelt, and beneficial event for clinicians I’ve attended.”

The highest form of recognition and showing appreciation for the value that nurses contribute is including them in decision making and creating room for them to design, not just deliver, patient care.

Visit nursesweek.com  and sign up for a chance to win one of 25 gift bundles just for nurses and nursing students. While you’re there, look into our free continuing education courses that earn ANCC contact hours. Happy Nurses Week!

Mandy Tilton headshot 2
Amanda Tilton
Chief Nursing Officer at BAYADA Home Health Care

Mandy Tilton is the Chief Nursing Officer at BAYADA Home Health Care. She is a certified professional in patient safety (CPPS™) as well as a certified nephrology nurse (CNN®). She earned a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree at Bradley University in Peoria, IL and her BS, RN, MSN, and MBA at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL.