How to Thank a Nurse: Honoring Ecumen’s Nurses, Part 1

It's National Nurses Week, and we asked Ecumen nurses to tell us memorable words of appreciation they've heard.

It’s National Nurses Week, a time set aside to pay special tribute to our nurses on the front lines of health care every day.  Ecumen employs more than 500 nurses and 1,800 nursing assistants, who provide quality care to our residents in our nursing homes, assisted living communities and through home care services. They make lives better in innumerable ways, and we can never thank them enough for their compassionate, caring, skillful work.  

We hope our nurses know how much they are valued, but we decided to ask them specifically what makes them feel appreciated.  We polled a sample of Ecumen nurses on this question:

What are some of the best things patients have said to you that make you feel appreciated?

A strong theme — full of smiles — ran through their answers. Here’s a sample of what they said:

Barb Rozeboom, Clinical Director at Colonial Manor in Balaton, Minn., summed it up this way: “For me, it’s rarely what residents say but most often the smile they give you when you enter the room. Their smiles are a genuine indication of how important you are to them.”

Roberta Alzen, Clinical Director at Grand Village in Grand Rapids, Minn.: “It's typically not the spoken word, it's the smile from within, the touch, the sparkle in their eyes, the peace with the last breath…the feeling is so profound I often find myself wishing that others could experience it!”

 Tami Johnson, Clinical Director at Ecumen Oaks & Pines in Hutchinson, Minn.: “You can feel a resident’s sincerity when they look you in the eye, take your hand, and say thank you. The small moments make me feel appreciated the most.”

Angela Stevens, Assisted Living Nurse Manager at Ecumen Pathstone Living in Mankato, Minn.: “‘Thank you’ are the two of the most powerful words that I appreciate. For me there is no need for a big formal gesture of appreciation, and for some residents it takes all the energy they have to get those two words out… Also, a non-verbal way for me to feel appreciated is a smile. If a resident is smiling, I have made that moment of their day better, which is what working with the geriatric population means…making moments of their lives better.”

Veronica Olsen, Clinical Director at Ecumen Lakeshore, The Fountains, in Duluth, Minn., says she feels appreciated when residents simply say: “You have such a nice smile.”

Kristine Doering, Clinical Director at Ecumen Mapleton and Lake Crystal, says she feels most appreciated “when I get hugs.”

Brett Anderson, Clinical Director, Ecumen Centennial House in Apple Valley, Minn.: “A simple ‘thank you’ is always the best!  And I’ve often heard: ‘Don’t you ever leave here!’ That means a lot too!”

Jennifer Rau, Home Care Manger, Ecumen Evergreens of Fargo: “Thank you…You are a great nurse…You are kind… You are smart.”

Jadie Winters, Home Care Manager, Ecumen Evergreens of Moorhead: “A resident told me the other day, ‘You have the nicest smile I have ever seen. It makes me feel good.’ Several residents tell me every day they appreciate me greatly. A few residents tell me they miss me when I am gone on the weekends. I have several residents who value my input and will listen to me because they trust me. Without trust, you have nothing. Honesty goes a long way.”

Jamie Sterner, Clinical Coordinator, Ecumen of Litchfield: “You saved my life.  I am so grateful you are my home care nurse. I feel so safe with you.”

Laurie Terning, Clinical Director, Ecumen of Litchfield: “A lot of what I hear from residents that brings a smile to my face is about the wonderful care that our staff provide to them each and every day.  The residents know that it is not an easy job, but time and time again, I hear ‘Thank yous’ to our staff for the exceptional care they provide.”

Barbara Frosh, Clinical Lead, Ecumen Lakeshore in Duluth, Minn.:  “I’m glad you are here for me.  Thank you for listening to me.”

Christine Burr, Resident Services Manager, Heritage at Irene Woods in Memphis, Tenn.: “Thank you for your hard work.  Thank you for your time spent.  Thank you for helping Mom/Dad.  Thank you for having such a great team of nurses and nursing assistants.”

Lori Olson, Clinical Director at Sunnyside Care Center in Lake Park, Minn., recounted this story: “My husband and I were in the checkout lane when the man ahead of us turned around and said to me: “You don’t remember me, do you? You took care of me in the hospital after my accident. I never saw your face.  (He was in isolation so I was completely gowned/gloved and masked with each encounter.) But I remember your voice, and I also remember what a great nurse you were. And you made me laugh. Thank you.”

Tomorrow: Qualities of the Exceptional Nurse: Honoring Ecumen’s Nurses, Part 2