Here in Canada we have Nurses' WEEK. Our hospital has what they refer to as a nurses' appreciation tea, but it's open to anyone with an ID badge, so really... And it's punch and cookies, for an hour or two, on a day shift. The administration sent out a vaguely patronizing email thanking us for our excellent work, but included the caveat that they really shouldn't single out just nurses because we're all one big happy family so they've kind of morphed Nurses' Week into Let's Celebrate Everybody Who Works Here Week. Our manager brought doughnuts and muffins this morning for all the staff.
Our union local usually has small gifts for each of us. One year they gave us personalized cutlery to carry in our lunch bags. They were so popular that the respiratory therapists took a bunch and there weren't enough for the nurses. As of this moment we haven't seen this year's offering.
Personal thanks and little tokens mean more anyway. I have a shelf in my office at home where I put the thank you cards I've received over the years. One gift that really took me by surprise came from a mom that I had spent some time with. Her child had been admitted with bronchiolitis and had been pretty sick. The mom reminded me a lot of one of my daughters, the one who catastrophizes everything. When she started ramping up I found myself talking to her in the same way I would talk to DD. A little tough Mom act that worked miracles! Just before her boy was ready for discharge from the PICU she came to me to unburden herself because she was quite worried about him. He had been difficult to sedate while on the ventilator and now he wasn't waking up. He'd had a CT head that was normal and she was terrified that he had some life-long brain injury that didn't show on the scan. I thought about it for a few minutes, then did a chart review. This little half-Asian baby had been given 480 mg/kg of chloral hydrate over the preceding 4 days and was essentially drunk - chloral hydrate is metabolized on first pass to ethyl alcohol, then further metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase. Asians and Inuit have a relative deficiency of this enzyme and should only be given small doses at wide intervals. When I explained all of this to her and reassured her that he'd wake up sooner or later and be just fine, she nearly wept. The next day he was transferred to the peds ward and I was on the night shift. I came in and there, at the desk was a package with my name on it. This mom had gone out and bought me a travel mug that she'd had his photo printed on and a lovely message thanking me for taking such good care of them both. It sits on my shelf right next to the card.