Gifts for Nurses
January 13, 2022 2:06 PM   Subscribe

So, a relative of mine had an accident and was injured badly enough to go to the ER. They ended up in the hospital for a few days, due to age and complications. I was unable to go help (screw you, omicron), but the relative who was there to help talks about how great the nursing staff was. We are thinking of getting them something -- probably chocolate or cookies.


1. Is this a good idea?
2. Might something else be preferable?
3. If cookies or chocolates are good, can anyone recommend a service that will deliver preferably individually wrapped treats?

PS. The injured relative looks like they will make a complete recovery.
posted by GenjiandProust to Human Relations (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When my dad was in the hospital (ICU, not ER) we asked the wonderful staff if we could order pizza for them. They enthusiastically said yes, and as far as I could tell they loved it.
posted by Gray Duck at 2:24 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

Best answer: My wife is a nurse.

Check with the hospital to see if this is even allowed. During parts of the pandemic, various restrictions on visitors, carry-ins, food deliveries, leaving things at the nurse's station, etc., have all been a thing, and it would be best to check with management to see if whatever you propose is actually allowed.

Nurses and doctors are entirely tired of COVID deniers and people who have exercised their "right" to avoid vaccination. Observationally, this is grinding on the staff, and what these people need is to feel appreciated and loved for the immense efforts they put into this. My wife is immunocompromised but dutifully handles Regeneron infusions and COVID testing on a daily basis. It is risky work. The flippant manner in which they have been treated by about half the population is horrible. They're very happy to help those who need it. You got your vax, your booster, and you still got COVID? You've got comorbidities? You're a cancer patient on immunosuppressants? You can bother to say thank you? It doesn't take that much to make their day. They just want to be treated decently, not like the people who are told to go for a Regeneron treatment and then treat the nurse doing the infusion with total disdain.

Before the pandemic, people would occasionally write letters and thank unit staff for how they or their loved ones were treated and cared for. These seemingly small gestures of decency have an outsize effect on morale. Even if you're not allowed to send cookies or chocolate, send a letter, name names, be appreciative and thankful. The ER staff in particular are getting hit hard right now. Anything you can do to brighten the day is meaningful. They can use it. Our health care system is at risk. We have to support them.
posted by jgreco at 2:27 PM on January 13 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Also a nurse.

We loved all kinds of gifts.* Someone brought in to-go jugs of coffee from Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks and a tray of bagels and cream cheese options, which went over well. Candy and cookies were ubiquitous and appreciated. One patient's family owned a greengrocer and sent cases of grapes and oranges. Another patient's family sent a crate of apples and apple cider donuts. The fruit-based gifts were spectacular, as they didn't involve something that had to be kept fresh, and could be kept without refrigeration for all shifts. Also portable and healthy.

*Don't forget nightshift - they took care of your relative 50% of the time! Something popular is usually gone by the time the second shift arrives, which these days is usually 7:00 PM. Sending a note designating half of your gift for night shift will be touchingly appreciated by the staff that usually misses out of this kind of gift.
posted by citygirl at 3:03 PM on January 13 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Nurse here. Echoing the above--the fact that your loved one was polite and kind means they were already a shining star in the minds of the nurses who cared for them. It's kind of sad that behaving with basic human decency makes a person memorable, but such are the times.

Break rooms, where any edible gifts would be consumed, are among the most dangerous places in the hospital right now as they're the only place where people are allowed to congregate without PPE. During this omicron surge, please don't send anything that would require someone to remove their mask in order to appreciate or enjoy it.

The most meaningful appreciations I've ever received were written notes. When I worked L&D, I got a card from a patient once that said that their newborn daughter would someday know by name the group of strong women who were present at her birth. I get choked up just thinking about that card!

The entire nursing staff once received a card from a patient who had taken the time during her induction of labor to write down each nurses's name and what that individual nurse had done for her that stood out as exemplary. I was thanked on that card for my excellent IV placement skills, which meant an enormous amount to me not just because I'm very proud of being the vein whisperer but because it was so specific. I felt really seen as the individual nurse I am. This was at least ten years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.

So I vote for a card, naming names if they're available. And reaching out to the hospital for the name of a manager or nurse executive to which a copy could be sent would be great, too. So much of what we do is invisible to management and administration.
posted by jesourie at 3:18 PM on January 13 [20 favorites]

Best answer: My Wife is a nurse:

+1 on a note, especially with a photo of you guys. Super memorable. People rarely get follow-up on how their patients do, so hearing a positive update on the condition is rare and very nice.

Normally would like food / sweets, but like above, unlikely to be accepted unless individually wrapped and able to be brought home. (and nothing homemade foodwise for reasons stated above)
posted by bbqturtle at 5:53 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Nurses where I work still appreciate and accept edible gifts during COVID. Avoid homemade for now.

A note written to the nurse manager of the floor your relative was on (example: Attention nurse manager, 5 East), ccing the CNO (chief nursing officer), calling out specific examples of great care your relative received, would be amazing and likely posted on a bulletin board for all to see.
posted by latkes at 6:38 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I work in a hospital. Please don't send a gift of food right now. I'm sure the staff would love it, but we are also having nosocomial outbreaks that are decimating our workforce and occasionally, despite our best efforts, infecting our patients. There are few or no safe ways for staff to eat in our and most hospitals (we know now that the "stay six feet apart" mantra means nothing, but admin hangs onto it because they can't very well admit there aren't enough safe spaces for staff to eat during a shift). If this hospital doesn't have a policy against accepting gifts of food, they should.

Send a heartfelt handwritten card—we treasure those—and plan to send a gift of food later this year when the workplace is safer.
posted by telegraph at 3:28 AM on January 14

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:58 PM on January 14

« Older YA horror novel with a corpse in a lake?   |   How many meetings is a "normal" amount? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments