It’s not an understatement that healthcare professionals have been put through the ringer these past few years. If there’s anyone that needs extra recognition, it’s our healthcare heroes. Luckily, the upcoming weeks have an abundance of healthcare recognition days so you can prioritize the ones that prioritize our health and well-being.
When to celebrate your healthcare workers
To help you keep track of all the upcoming healthcare recognition opportunities, here’s a list of dates to be aware of:
- World Veterinarian Day: April 29
- National Physicians Day: May 1
- National Nurses Day: May 6
- National Nurses Week: May 6-12
- National EMS Week: May 21-27
Now that you know when to recognize your healthcare employees, let’s talk about how to do it. Read on for five celebration ideas you can use to commemorate your healthcare professionals during the upcoming weeks and beyond!
5 ways to honor all your healthcare employees
1. Remind employees that self-care is healthcare When it comes to patient health, we’re preaching to the choir. But, how many of your employees actually practice what they preach? From long shifts to demanding workloads, many healthcare workers can suffer from burnout and general exhaustion. It’s easy to put self-care on the back burner when it’s not embedded into the workplace. Below are some resources and ideas to make employee well-being more accessible and build a culture of wellness:
- Offer free or low-cost therapy: Therapy Aid Coalition provides free or low-cost therapy to healthcare workers and first responders. If your organization offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), remind staff to take advantage of the free counseling sessions there as well.
- Provide mental health resources and coping skills: the American Nursing Association started the ANA Well-Being Initiative to support nurses during COVID-19. Though the resources are geared towards nurses, the podcasts, webinars and crisis information can benefit all healthcare workers. Nurses also have access to a free mental well-being app called Moodfit.
- Offer continuing education units (CEUs) courses that focus on mental health and self-care: since all healthcare professionals need to keep up-to-date with their licenses, offering courses that meets both their licensure requirements and improves their health is a win-win.
Mental health can be a heavy topic, but the way you approach it doesn’t have to be. Feel free to ask your staff what topics or skills they are interested in practicing, and then create challenges for some friendly competition. Offer small prizes to all participants and then give larger rewards to the top three winners, like Spafinder® gift cards or other pampering treats. Whatever approach you take, making self-care a priority at work reduces the stigma of mental health and the risk of burnout and turnover.
2. Get the community involved In recent years, healthcare workers have received greater recognition from the community at large. Keep the momentum going by reminding community members and patients to recognize them. Here’s a few ideas to get started:
- Encourage former and current patients to write letters of gratitude to their healthcare team.
- Highlight healthcare workers and their stories of resilience on social media.
- Encourage other healthcare facilities and local businesses to hang signs in recognition of healthcare workers.
- Rally your healthcare union or administration to advocate for healthcare laws that could benefit your employees and patients.
- Ask a local news crew to interview a few employees and film their great work.
3. Foot the bill for professional development resources All healthcare professionals need to maintain their licenses, and one way to express gratitude for their hard work is to pay for their continuing education credits (CEUs). Though professional websites like Medscape offer free CEU’s, other sites only offer free courses to paid members. Depending on your organization’s budget, you could pay for employees’ professional membership fees - like for the American Nursing Association or American Medical Association - or for individual CEU courses or conferences. Even if your organization can’t provide free courses, consider paying your employees in another way: paid professional development days. Especially since healthcare workers often work long shifts, giving them an extra day or two to take classes frees up their weekends for much needed rest. They’ll appreciate the time away to focus on their career goals while also getting paid.
4. Make recognition front and center all month long Have you ever received a gift for your birthday, then received more surprises that same week from friends or family? Just like personal gift giving, incorporating the element of surprise makes recognition at work even more fun. Since all your employees deserve to be recognized, consider giving everyone Visa® or Mastercard® prepaid cards. Then, ask employees and managers to volunteer as “reward ambassadors” and have them give out a certain number of gift cards and prepaid cards as spot rewards throughout the month. For example, they could give a reward to an employee who was calm during a crisis or who spent extra time educating a patient’s family. After the challenge is over, be sure to give out reward cards to your rewards ambassadors, too.
5. Give extra days off for vacations or shopping sprees All employees relish days off - but for a healthcare worker - getting an extra shift off work can be extra challenging. If possible, allow employees to stagger their schedule so they can all get an extra day off. To sweeten this reward, encourage them to take advantage of special healthcare worker discounts for retail stores, hotels and more. Though this list isn’t comprehensive, here are some of our favorite deals:
- The Hilton All-Inclusive First Responder Discount gives first responders a 25% discount on hotel rates.
- The Marriott for Healthcare offers 15% off hotel rooms for first responders and military members.
- Check out First Responder Discounts for deals across multiple categories.
To reap these rewards, employees will need to present a valid ID. Remember to also check with the brands directly to ensure these discounts are valid at the time of purchase. We hope these ideas inspire new ways to recognize your healthcare employees. And from our organization to yours, happy healthcare weeks! Talk to BHN®. We can help you with your employee appreciation efforts. Call 866.353.4877 or fill out the form to talk to a recognition and rewards expert.