Nurse Recognition Programs Refuel and Help Build Resilience

Once again this year, nursing was voted the most trusted profession in the country. But the honor has never been talked about or featured in the media as much as it has been since the pandemic started.

Every day on the news, we see nurses caring for COVID-19 patients, nurses giving life-changing vaccinations, and nurses dealing with this latest onslaught of the Delta variant. It’s a recipe for burnout by anyone’s standards.

The media also is addressing the unfortunate exhaustion and burnout that nurses (and other caregivers) are enduring. If you haven’t seen the New York Times’ video Death: Through A Nurse’s Eyes, watch it with a big box of tissues.

Because of the incredible challenges nurses have faced in the past 18 months or so, never has the word “resilience” been so prominent in health care. Cynda Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the School of Nursing. Her work on resilience, and in particular moral resilience, is ground-breaking.

Fundamental to Rushton’s work is the fact that nurses are already resilient. For instance, sometimes the demands of their work exceed their resources. But their resilience needs to be refueled or — as we say at The DAISY Foundation — fertilized.

Nurses need to be emotionally, psychologically, and morally refueled regularly to enable them to resist burnout and its many negative impacts such as moral distress. One way research reveals nurses can be refueled emotionally is through the expression of gratitude by their patients, families, and co-workers.

Promoting Nurse Recognition to the Public

Nurses are refueled when they know they have made a difference in the life of a patient or family member, especially when they were unaware of the difference they made. Stories of their impact and expressions of gratitude have been the foundations of nominations for The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses for nearly 22 years.

Patients, family members, and co-workers nominate nurses by sharing stories of what a nurse has done for them — not only the big lifesaving events, but especially the little things nurses do that contribute to a patient’s healthcare experience.

The DAISY Award nomination stories about direct care nurses, nurse leaders, and nurse-led teams that have been submitted since the start of the pandemic are stunning in their emotional statements of what nurses do and the impact they have.

We at The DAISY Foundation profess that nurses can never have enough recognition, and frankly, they have never needed or deserved it more. Our program promotes a ritual of recognition throughout the year and contributes to a culture that supports nurses in a positive, healthy work environment.

So this year, to supplement the gratitude being paid to nurses and facilitate more nominations and more nurse recognition from the public, we mounted a billboard campaign in numerous markets, encouraging the public to show their gratitude. Perhaps you heard about the signs that shone bright in Times Square in January, elevating the importance of …read more

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