1) Give us the tools, supplies, and proper staffing levels to allow us to do our job well! No nurse likes to go home thinking he/she could have done better just because it was a crazy busy day. On a similar line, provide enough support staff so that nurses don't have to waste time doing non-nursing tasks, such as emptying trash cans, putting away meal trays, or thinning overflowing charts. This just adds to our crazy busy days and takes us away from our patients' bedsides.
2) Acknowledge and appreciate. I don't necessarily need material gifts and rewards for what I do. But, I have never ever seen any upper management come to us to say, "Thank you" or "Good job". Even so, every year or so, management seems to want to do something for nurses but goes about it in such a way that, for front line nurses, it doesn't even matter. Once, they had a special pancake breakfast free for all nurses...but they made it from 0800-0900. Our breaks don't start until 0915, and that's just the first round of breaks >_>
3) If we are struggling and the numbers prove it, then provide us with actual and realistic strategies we can implement to make things better. Although I wasn't there, apparently one of the top guys in management came to our floor to tell everyone we were apparently the worst floor in terms of patients' length of stay. What a morale booster, eh? There were no suggestions as to what we could do better, or even why our lengths of stay were so long (I can think of a number of factors that would throw our numbers off compared to other units/hospitals). We were just told we were "the worst". Well, gee, maybe you should look at the fact that we have 1 social worker, 1 occupational therapist, and 2 physiotherapists for a 60-bed unit...*rolls eyes*