I wouldn't use patient thank you notes as references, but I have asked patients/families if it was okay to USE THEM as a reference for another job sometime in the future. I work home health. If they don't want me to too, I don't but I ask now.
As for not needing management to pat you on the back to know you are doing a good job, I don't NEED that either. I am confident in my own abilities. This isn't about needing kudos from management.
This is about communicating to management the positive things that you are doing. There is a system in place for communicating negative things that happen (errors, etc). There is no true system or method to bring up the positive things that happen without feeling like you are "tooting your own horn" and I think that by getting over the weird feeling of doing that, my supervisor is better informed of the level of care I am providing. I think it is in the benefit of management to know what is going on- negative AND positive. My supervisor has told me that since learning how happy patient's families' are with me, they rest better and are more confident when I am working, knowing that they don't have to worry. This is my career and the fact is to move up, get a raise, etc, I think that you should let management know if patients are happy with your work. Like I said, I work home health and so my supervisor doesn't SEE me at work. I realize that not every nursing or aide situation is like this, but a lot of them are. A lot of night shift workers rarely will see management. You bet that a negative situation would be communicated, and I am getting over the 'weirdness' factor of communicating the positive for the sake of my career and hopes to move up and maintain a good reputation with the company I work for.
That's my :twocents: