Nurse Appreciation

recognizing all that nurses have had to do, especially in the last two years, to celebrate national ...

Fun Ways To Celebrate National School Nurse Day

Make them feel extra special this year.

You might remember your school nurse as the person who bandaged your knee when you fell on the playground as a kid or called your parents if you were too sick to stay in class. I particularly think fondly of the school nurse at my middle school who let me take a nap on her cot when I had my first un-fun experience with cramps. And if you were a kid who needed to take medication every day or who had a more serious medical condition, the school nurse was a crucial part of your ability to get an education. As a parent, you might dread their calls — but you’re also grateful that someone is there for when your kid just isn’t well enough to learn, and National School Nurse Day is an opportune time to take a second to acknowledge how integral they are in the education system, and to put your appreciation in action.

The fact is, kids get sick, and particularly during the pandemic, schools needs school nurses to keep them running. And Marketplace reported that during the pandemic school nurses have taken on a lot of the work of COVID mitigation and contact-tracing, which has made their workload significantly more difficult. Some have even faced threats from parents who are angry at them for enforcing public health rules. They’re an underpaid and often forgotten profession, and they’re almost always seeing people at their worst: they’re dealing all day long with sick kids and parents who aren’t exactly thrilled to get their call. If anyone deserves a day to truly be appreciated, it’s them.

When is National School Nurse Day 2022

This year, National School Nurse Day is on Wednesday, May 11th. It’s a busy time this year, with Mother’s Day coming a little early, and the day coming right after Teacher’s Appreciation Week. But that makes it all the more important that these hardworking people aren’t left out of the celebration.

What is the History of School Nurse Appreciation Day?

School Nurse Day was established in 1974, when President Gerald Ford set aside a Wednesday in January to honor the contributions of these hardworking professionals. The day stayed in January for several decades. In 2003, National School Nurse Day became a May holiday, celebrated during National Nurse’s Week (which this year is May 6-12th). According to the National Association of School Nurses, the day was established to “to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting.”

How to celebrate National School Nurse Day

You could make a card, decorate the school nurse’s door, or post on social media with any of these adorable phrases. Some cute things to say to your school nurse to show your appreciation include:

  • “Not all heroes wear capes, they wear ____” (Probably scrubs, but maybe your school nurse has a different uniform!)
  • “Our children are safer and healthier because of you...thank you, [Nurse’s name], for all that you do!”
  • “Thanks for ‘sticking around’ to take care of us!” (with a card decorated with a box of Band-Aids, or cut to be in the shape of a BandAid!)
  • “We can’t ‘mask’ our appreciation for you!” (You could either draw a mask, or give them an extra cute mask to wear if you go with this one!)
  • “You’re as cool as your ice packs!”
  • “Thanks for keeping me healthy so that I can keep learning!” (signed from your kid, of course)
  • “Thanks for keeping us together!” (again, you could go with the Band-Aid theme if you do this one.)
  • “Thanks a latte for being an awesome school nurse!” (with a gift card to a coffee joint!)
  • “You always hit the mark” (with a Target gift card, because who doesn’t want that?)

The National Association of School Nurses also includes this cute image as a free download to caption your 2022 Nurse Appreciation posts: it says “bridging healthcare and education,” which is a perfect description of what school nurses do.

thianchai sitthikongsak/Moment/Getty Images

Cards, gifts, and thank you’s are amazing, but so is having the resources to do their job well. If you can, talk to your school nurse about whether they’ve gotten sufficient funding to do their jobs and what challenges they face. Advocate for your district to better fund this crucial profession and organize with other parents to make it happen. Though cards are wonderful, school nurses need more than that—there’d be no better way to show your appreciation than in being part of much-needed change around how this profession is compensated and treated.

No parent likes taking care of sick kids, and school nurses are often only ever seeing kids at their worst. However you choose to celebrate and acknowledge the school nurses in your and your kids’ lives, they’re sure to appreciate it.