Monday December 18th 2017

Can saying thank you change nursing?

It’s clearly documented that saying thank you makes both the person giving and receiving the appreciation feel better. The expression of gratitude has been linked to happiness and better health. The importance of stopping to recognize and thank nurses for their daily contributions to patients and colleagues is at the heart of the American Nurses Foundation’s Honor a Nurse program.

During the last year, with the generous support of Wolters Kluwer Health and its Lippincott Solutions team, the Foundation’s Honor a Nurse program has grown dramatically. In 2013, 89 nurses were honored. In 2014, 1,233 nurses had been honored by their peers, families, bosses and patients. The Foundation’s goal is to increase that number by 25 percent by 2016.

During the 2014 American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet Conference® in Dallas, the Foundation celebrated nurses, and more than 300 nurses honored a colleague by making a gift to the Foundation. Participants thanked peers, mentors and friends, and by doing so, they strengthened the profession as a whole. Their gift to the Foundation supports nursing educational aid, disaster relief, new research, learning and practice innovation, and leadership development.

Why does this matter? It impacts the quality of patient care and a caregiver’s own well-being. It’s good for us and those we touch. This point was underscored by Magnet architect and its truest friend, Margaret (Maggie) McClure, ED, RN, FAAN, at the Daisy Foundation celebration at the Magnet conference. McClure cited philosopher Martin Buber to describe the best of nurses: “The world is made up of ‘I-it’ people and ‘I-thou’ people. People who treat others as objects and people who treat others as they would want to be treated themselves. The best nurses are I-thou nurses.”

The concept of I-thou is rooted in the importance of relationships. Each of us has experienced relationships that have transformed our lives. Sometimes that transformation is instantaneous — a comment or an idea from a mentor — while other times it is the result of working alongside a peer who nurtures and inspires growth and improvement.

Stephanie Ferguson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, is an I-thou nurse. Her gift to the Margretta Styles Fund was in part inspired by McClure and the difference she made in health care worldwide through the Magnet Recognition Program®. As Stephanie says, “The light is always going to come back to you. Giving makes the world and you better — always.”

We encourage all nurses — and their families, friends, employers and patients — to join us in saying thank you for the difference nurses make. If everyone did so, we would create the largest and most influential philanthropic resource for nurses in the world, which would change the future of nursing for years to come.

— Kate Judge is the executive director of the American Nurses Foundation.


Why not resolve to be more philanthropic?

Many of us welcome the new year with goals and resolutions to improve our health, our spending habits, and the amount of time we spend with our families and at our work environment, to name a few. This year, why not resolve to increase your impact on others by being more philanthropic?

Philanthropy fuels positive change across the world. The American Nurses Foundation has a list of powerful initiatives to help transform health care in 2015. The Foundation plans to expand its Honor a Nurse program, continue to fund Nursing Research Grants, place more nurses on governing boards for greater influence in decision-making and provide RNs with a toolkit to help them assess patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We invite ANA members to decide that 2015 is your year to be more philanthropic. Visit www.givetonursing.org to support the Foundation by making a gift today.

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