Celebration Ideas for National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is a time of celebration and appreciation. From May 6-12 each year, communities celebrate nurses and their impact on people everywhere. There are many ways you can show appreciation for nurses in your area, whether through events or promotional products.

History of National Nurses Week

The history of National Nurses Week goes back to the mid-nineties, but its roots started long before that. In the 1800s, many viewed nurses as lowly assistants to doctors, without much skill or expertise. Florence Nightingale, highly regarded as the mother of modern nursing, was the one to change all that.

Florence Nightingale

During the Crimean War, Nightingale traveled to a British Base in Constantinople with a team of nurses to attempt to raise living conditions in a squalid hospital. The nurses arrived at a frightening scene, the hospital sat on a large cesspool, which had contaminated the building’s water. Stretchers were strewn about and rodents and bugs roamed unabated. Infection ran rampant.

Nightingale, determined and unshaken, quickly jumped into action and had the entire hospital scrubbed clean. She spent days and nights caring for the sick and helping to get the hospital back into proper condition. Eventually, she was able to cut the hospital’s death rate by two-thirds.

Creation of National Nurses Week

Nightingale’s work helped show the world how essential nurses are. Today, National Nurses Week begins on May 6h and culminates on May 12 – Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Getting a day set aside to honor Nightingale’s many contributions was met with resistance. For example, Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower in 1953 to urge him to proclaim a “Nurse Day” the following year. The proclamation was never made.

However In 1954, National Nurses Week was celebrated in October in observance of the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s work in Crimea. Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation in 1982 that acknowledged May 6th as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” It wasn’t until 1993 that the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated May 6-12 as permanent dates to celebrate National Nurses Week.

The value of nurses has become increasingly clear over recent years, and many companies are looking for ways to show their appreciation for the profession.

Ways Companies Can Celebrate National Nurses Week

Whether you’re looking for a large, sweeping event or some simple ways to honor nurses, there are many ways you can show your gratitude.

Spread Awareness

One of the best ways to make nurses feel valued and celebrated is to spread awareness of National Nurses Week throughout your community. Many people might not even know that National Nurses Week is happening, so spreading the news early on can help spur some appreciation. You can use different channels to help spread awareness in your town:

  • Social media: You can go online to spread the word about National Nurses Week. A couple of fun posts on social media or a simple hashtag could be enough to let people know about the week and also show nurses that they’re loved and appreciated. It’s easy to spread the word on social media, so even one post could have a big impact.
  • Around town: Word of mouth is the traditional and effective way to let people in your town know about something. Talk to people in your community who might want to help celebrate the week. Make signs or plan events with local leaders to make nurses feel welcome and valued. Partner with other companies or local businesses to help bring attention to this honorary week.

Spreading awareness is a simple but effective way to honor nurses. If you’re a prominent company within the community, you can use the power of your voice to bring attention to National Nurses Week.

Show Appreciation

National Nurses Week is a time to show that nurses are valued and appreciated. That appreciation can often be simple — sometimes, a small gesture is all that’s needed to make someone’s day and motivate them. Consider these options to show your appreciation:

  • Honor a nurse: Choose someone who has been doing excellent work and take time to thank them and honor them for their hard work. Some simple acknowledgment of the great job they’re doing is a simple act of kindness that goes a long way.
  • Decorations: Line the walls or entrances of a hospital building or community building with decorations celebrating National Nurses Week. Nurses will feel grateful that people took time out of their day to help celebrate the week.
  • Thank-you notes: A well-crafted, personalized thank-you note is another awesome way to make nurses feel good during their appreciation week. Write about why you’re thankful for them and acknowledge the great work they’ve been doing.

National Nurses Week is, at its core, a week to show appreciation for the work nurses do. Basic acts of kindness, honoring a nurse or using some decorations are perfect ways to show that gratitude.

Catered Lunch

The universal and excellent way to show appreciation is through food. A catered lunch is the perfect surprise for nurses. Find a local shop or a company favorite and have some food delivered to your nurses. It’s a great way to show that appreciation through food and help boost morale in a healthcare facility.

Give Out Relaxation Gifts

Being a nurse is stressful. With the wide range of duties a nurse has to juggle and the number of patients they have to care for, the job can be overwhelming. When National Nurses Week comes around, giving out some relaxation gifts to nurses will definitely be appreciated. Gifts such as an on-site massage chairs, spa gifts or some guided meditation and yoga are great ways to lower stress levels and show extra care for nurses.

Use Promotional Items

There are endless promotional gifts you can give out to your staff during National Nurses Week. Quality, functional gifts are excellent ways to honor nurses because people can use them daily and for a long time. Instead of a one-off celebration, you can add real functional value to someone’s life with a great promotional gift.

Promotional Items to Celebrate National Nurses Week

Sometimes the best way to celebrate National Nurses Week is with unique promotional items. With a wide range of options, you’ll be able to find something for anyone’s tastes and show appreciation for their work. Benefits of promotional items to celebrate National Nurses Week include:

  • Functionality: People can use promotional gifts on a daily basis. Whether it’s a water bottle they use for work every day or a cooler they use for their lunch, it can act as an item that holds function long after it’s first gifted.
  • Longevity: Great promotional products also last a long time. Though there’s only a week for National Nurses Week, their work the rest of the year is crucial for millions across the country. A promotional item will last past the week, as a gentle reminder they’re continually appreciated..
  • Quality: With the right provider, you’ll also get excellent-quality promotional products, built to last and designed with function and appearance in mind. Nurses will be proud to display and use these items, creating great outreach.

Spread the word about National Nurses Week and show appreciation for the profession with promotional nurse appreciation gifts.


Many nurses walk miles every day, going from one patient to another and juggling various tasks. Hydration is key for nurses throughout the day — that’s why drinkware is a perfect choice as a gift. Check out:

  • Water bottles: Choose from stainless steel, aluminum, glass and reusable water bottles. Look at various designs and colors and find the perfect gift for your nurses. Include a company logo on the bottle to highlight and promote your organization too.
  • Coffee mugs: Create beautifully-designed coffee mugs for National Nurses Week and choose from various shapes and sizes. It’s a gift that people can use every morning and throughout the day.
  • Tumblers: Travel mugs and tumblers are also great options. You can find quality stainless steel tumblers that can keep liquids at their desired temperature for hours.

Any type of drinkware is sure to be a hit at your healthcare facility. Many people drink all different types of beverages throughout the workday — water, tea, coffee, juice — so having that extra bottle or mug is sure to offer some help to nurses.


Nurses are always on the go, moving from one place to the next in a fast-paced lifestyle. They’re tending to many people’s needs besides their own, and in that chaos, it can be nice to have quality bags they can rely on to keep their belongings safe and organized. Here are some different options to choose from:

  • Tote bags: Shop for tote bags for your nurses and add some convenience to their life. You can pick from a variety and find one that suits your company’s needs. Employees will be happy to carry around belongings to and from work in their new tote bag.
  • Drawstring bags: Drawstring bags are great because they’re portable and flexible. You can use them for travel, work, and sports. Employees who have children can even use them for school. It’s a great way to honor nurses and spread awareness about the celebratory week.
  • Lunch and cooler bags: Many of us forget to invest in a quality lunchbox, and it doesn’t take long before an old lunch box begins to break down and lose its function. Promotional lunch and cooler bags are a way to show your employees that you are looking out for their well-being.


Apparel is a classic promotional item that’s always been a hit. Most nurses are proud of their profession and what they do — for good reason. Provide some stellar promotional clothing items for your nurses, such as:

  • T-shirts: Simple and versatile, t-shirts are always a go-to for giveaways. They act as great promotions for National Nurses Week and allow employees a way to celebrate their unique identity. Choose from long-sleeve and short-sleeve options made of various materials.
  • Sleepwear: Everyone loves comfy sleepwear. Plush robes or pajamas offer comfortable lounge and sleep options for employees when they’re off the job. Also, take a look at slippers and sleep masks for some elegant accessories.
  • Footwear: Sandals, socks and even shoelace key holders are excellent gifts for nurses. Since they’re on their feet all day, comfortable footwear for their time off is a great idea to show appreciation for your nurses.

Personal Care Items

Being a nurse can be a stressful job. Nurses are primarily focused on others throughout the day, making sure patients have everything they need and ensuring that they’re given an adequate level of care. Nurses enjoy receiving personal care items to make their lives a little less stressful throughout the day:

  • Stress balls: The simplicity of stress balls might seem tedious, but they may actually help to reduce stress. These are giveaways that could contribute to your team member’s well-being in a simple yet effective way.
  • Lotion: With all of the hand sanitizer nurses have to use on a daily basis, lotion will come as a welcome gift or giveaway, helping to moisturize their skin.

To decide which of these great items your nurses will appreciate most, consider taking a poll or asking around to determine what promotional items you choose for National Nurses Week.

Contact ePromos Today

Aside from promotional products, ePromos offers a comprehensive set of services that will help you along your shopping journey. We have logo and artwork services to help craft a design specific to your brand and fast shipping to ensure you get what you need when you need it. Our vast selection of quality products spans from lapel pins to robes. You can find what you’re looking for in our online shop, and then our team will guide you through the design and shipping process.

Browse through our products today and find the perfect promotional gifts to celebrate National Nurses Week. Contact us today!

About Author

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Heather D.

Reviewed by: Heather D. - Marketing Manager

Harbinger of the hallowed marketing halls of research, communication, and creativity. Strategic thinker who works best late at night or with coffee in hand. Steam-drives initiatives to heighten brand awareness and reach targeted audiences. Collaborates cross-functionally to obtain miraculous results to elevate ePromos to Platform 9¾.