Nurse Appreciation Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th.
Today is internationally celebrated as Nurses Day because it is Florence Nightingale's birthday.
Yesterday at work there was an amazing feast of food for all the nurses. Nurses gathered, not just from our facility but from several BHCHP sites. We chatted as we nibbled on our shrimp kabobs and tried to guess who was who in the black and white nursing school graduation photos.
The spread was prepared by our incredible kitchen staff and was maintained from 12pm to 4pm to bridge both the day and evening shifts. There were tote bags for everyone with snacks and Dunkin Donut giftcards, and in the corner of the atrium two massage stations had been set up.
During the course of the afternoon several touching speeches were given by RNs from the organization, and various staff members were recognized publicly for their work and dedication.
Later on, completely unrelated to the festivities a newly homeless patient said to me, "I'm so glad they brought me here. I know that here you'll take care of me."
It made me feel very appreciated, and made me proud to be a nurse. But there was one more gift, maybe the most affirming of all.
Upstairs in the nurses station there was a vase of roses. Pale pink, with dark edges, and fragrant.
"Did you like the flowers I got for the nurses?"
He was smiling. He had gone to great lengths to get them.
And it was the patient you might have expected least of all.