Celebrate the Year of the Nurse on Nurse’s Day

May 6, 2020 Providence News Team

Let’s celebrate the Year of the Nurse

  • Celebrating nurses in 2020
  • Five tips about great “thank you” gifts for nurses
  • Listen to these moving stories from Providence nurses


All over the world in 2020, nurses are being celebrated for a milestone. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The year-long event honors the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

In a related celebration, three organizations in the United States — the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Nurses Foundation (ANF) — are celebrating the Year of the Nurse. The goal is to promote nursing excellence, foster innovation and instill leadership by engaging with nurses, thought leaders and communities.

Those high-level activities are very important. But let’s bring it a little closer to home. Most of us, at one time or another, have had experiences with nurses. Whether they’ve cared for you directly or helped a loved one, a nurse has most likely touched your life.

In honor of Nurse's Week (May 6-12), Tai, a physical therapist at St. Peter’s in Olympia, shares the impact COVID-19 has had on her and how the support of the community gets her through the long days. 

Every day is a good day to thank a nurse. But this year we have 365 of them especially designed to remind us to show our gratitude for all nurses do, day in and day out. A verbal “thanks” is always appreciated, but if you’d like to go the extra mile, here are some ideas to keep in mind.

5 ways to thank a nurse during the Year of the Nurse

  1. Write a note or send a card

In these days of emails and texts, a note in the mail is even more special. Show how much you care by sending a lovely thank you card. You can keep it short and a nurse will certainly still find it sweet. Here are some message ideas to get you started.

  • Thanks to you, our world is happier and healthier. We appreciate you!
  • You went above and beyond to help us. Thank you so much!
  • You brighten everyone’s day — including ours. Happy Year of the Nurse!
  1. Deliver a healthy snack

Busy nurses often take care of their own health last. Show your appreciation by sending an edible arrangement of healthy snacks such as fruits, veggies and protein bars. It’s an easy, no-fuss way to help your favorite nurse stay energized during a busy, long shift.

  1. Treat a nurse’s feet (or legs!)

Before you decide these gifts are too personal, consider this: Nurses are on their feet a lot. Their legs and feet can really get tired. Quality compression socks and good pair of shoes can make all the difference when it comes to easing aches and pains and preventing swelling. And you don’t have to ask for sizes — a gift card to a nursing supply store will work perfectly. 

  1. Help a caring nurse enjoy a little self-care

A nurse who’s always on the go may need to be reminded to take a few moments to slow down and relax. Encourage your favorite nurse to take care of herself with a gift card to a spa or a basket filled with goodies like bath salts, lotions, candles, a massage brush, a CD of soft music and aromatherapy oils. It may be just what a nurse needs to get off his or her feet and put them up instead.

  1. Make the most of any season

This gift may be especially meaningful for a nurse who’s been providing long-term care to you or a loved one. If you’ve spent a lot of time with one particular nurse, you’ll most likely learn that nurse’s likes and dislikes. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to tailor a gift to the season. Here are a couple of seasons to consider.

In winter

  • Pretty hat and glove set
  • Soothing tea in a mug
  • Lightweight sweater
  • Colorful scarf

In summer

  • Lotion in the nurse’s favorite scent
  • Pretty pair of earrings or a bracelet
  • Sporty ball cap
  • Gift card for a manicure

We’re eternally grateful for nurses!

During this Year of the Nurse, it’s good to be reminded why they deserve our thanks. But perhaps you’d also like to learn a bit more about what inspires nurses to pursue or make the most of this career path. Here are a few Providence nurses we love, who were happy to share their stories.

Asia Harmeling and Ralph Pasana

Both discuss why they became nurses in this brief video. Asia shares her desire to help others in some way, and Ralph talks about an experience with his grandmother that was the driving force behind his decision to become a nurse. Listen to their stories here.

Julie Baker and Lindsey Burrell

These nurses are mother and daughter. They talk about one of the most intense experiences of their lives: Lindsey’s open-heart surgery. Listen and learn how this shared experience created a deep, lasting change in the way they each approach nursing today.


In addition, these amazing nurses are helping to ensure patients at St. Peter's Hospital in Southwest Washington get the care they need.

Gina Eisenberger, Manager of Clinical Observation Unit 








Deborah Campbell, RN in dedicated COVID Unit








Dan Peterson, Nurse in Clinical Observation Unit








Zane Zukowski, RN 








A nurse’s work is so often “behind the scenes.” The Year of the Nurse will shine a light on the vital role they play on healthcare teams and in so many lives. Let’s remember the hard work they perform day after day, year after year — and let nurses know they deserve our eternal gratitude.

This is especially important to remember the sacrifice nurses – and all caregivers – are making during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about how the Providence social community is saying thanks to nurses and caregivers alike by visiting this website. Feel free to use [insert nurses day hashtag] and submit your note of appreciation on one of our social channels.

Providence Facebook

Providence Twitter

Providence LinkedIn

Providence Instagram


Find a doctor

Great nurses are part of every great healthcare team. If you’re looking for a topnotch team of doctors and nurses, start your search in our provider directory. Or you can search using a regional directory below:






Do you have a story about an experience that will help us celebrate everything nurses do? Share it @psjh. #YearOfTheNurse 

Related resources:

World Health Organization

American Nurses Association (ANA)

American Nurses Credentialing Center

American Nurses Foundation

A birth story

Alicia Kirkman, RN honored with October 2019 Daisy Award

Why I became a nurse

A nurse goes in for open-heart surgery

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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