How can I best thank a whole hospital, but still reach individuals?
March 9, 2008 8:03 AM   Subscribe

I just spent ~2 weeks in the hospital. How do I thank the people who helped me?

Like I said, I've been here a pretty long time (getting discharged today, yay!). I have been all over the hospital, the ER, ICU, OR, recovery room, and several different general care floors. I have always been treated with the utmost respect, dignity, and compassion. I would really like to show my appreciation to everyone. Of course I don't know everybody's name. Nor can I afford a meaningful gift to each person or even each floor. In addition to simple thank you cards addressed to the different divisions, what could I do? Would cards even be appreciated? Please advise.
posted by milarepa to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Cards are appreciated, possibly more than you realize.

The best thank-you I ever got was a box of donuts. Donuts are freaking delicious.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:06 AM on March 9, 2008

Donuts and cards to each floor seems nice and affordable. Any other suggestion welcome.
posted by milarepa at 8:10 AM on March 9, 2008

Perhaps write a letter to the hospital management, telling them about the wonderful work that the employees did (with some specific people mentioned), would be appreciated. It's always nice to get recognized for your hard work to people who have power over things like your salary!

A nice fruit basket might make a better gift for hospitals than donuts, in my mind, despite donuts indeed being delicious...
posted by gemmy at 8:14 AM on March 9, 2008

A few months ago I spent two weeks in the local intensive care unit. While I was there, I arranged for one of my best friends to pick up a large basket of fresh fruit for all the staff (not *just* the doctors, but the nurses and even the cleaning staff). It was left in the main nursing station along with a large note/sign to explain what it was for and who it was from.

(I also made a point to mention it to any new person who came to attend to me, including the cleaning lady, that they should go and check it out and pick something out for themselves for later. It's just that so many times people overlook the "little folk" that also help to make your stay bearable.)

I had many of them come in to thank me and express their gratitude, especially for something so healthy as they often don't have time to go down to the cafeteria and it made it so easy for them to have a quick pick-me-up. They mentioned that they have received donuts and sweet stuff and that the thought was nice, but it was so refreshing to have something that took *their* health into consideration as well.

It doesn't have to be a fancy gourmet gift basket; mine was just a large rubbermaid container full of easy-to-eat fruit such as golden delicious and mcintosh apples, bananas, oranges, clementines, pears and grapes along with a clean tea towel as a liner. Best $20 I ever spent for a group gift!

Oh, and yes cards are also very much appreciated, especially if you try to mention a little something special about that division/section, such as a little incident that helped to make a difference for you during your stay.
posted by Jade Dragon at 8:20 AM on March 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

I'm not a clinician, but I work in a hospital, and all I can say is good for you. Doctors, nurses, residents and other clinicians work damn hard, and put up with a lot. They're also much nicer than most people realize.

In my experience you can't go wrong with chocolate, and it's easy to distribute. Sure fruit is good for you, but it's nice to be indulged with chocolate and donuts once in a while.

I think a nice note, both to the floor where you were, and maybe to management would be appreciated more than anything, though. These are professionals, and recognition that they are doing their jobs well means an awful lot.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:28 AM on March 9, 2008

Cards and chocolate!

However, slightly personalizing a card is better than all the edibles you could think of. I've been a nurse for just over a year now and got mentioned by name for the first time in a thank-you card a few weeks ago and it made my month!
posted by Silentgoldfish at 8:34 AM on March 9, 2008

All of the above plus a really nice letter to the hospital adminstrator/CEO about the staff that impacted the quality of your stay. Letting a big cheese know will trickle down and that is very much appreciated by the staff as well.
posted by 45moore45 at 8:42 AM on March 9, 2008

You can't know how meaningful those cards are. If you send one to each unit, they'll post it on the bulletin board and it'll be there forever. Those cards get saved on the bulletin board because they are tangible reminders that patients appreciate the staff. Cookies will be gone in a hour, but that card will get saved.

Take care of yourself.
posted by 26.2 at 8:42 AM on March 9, 2008

Yes, send doughnuts, cookies, or muffins, and a card to the hospital floors. I'm a nurse and we always appreciated goodies from patients. Cards are very much appreciated. Cards to individual physicians would be nice too.

You will probably be getting a patient satisfaction survey in the mail regarding your stay soon. Try to remember individual names if you can.

I'm glad you're okay and at home!
posted by LoriFLA at 8:45 AM on March 9, 2008

You could write a letter to the editor of the local paper thanking them in public for the wonderful service. Local papers usually print just about any letter, especially one praising a local institution like the hospital.
posted by COD at 9:09 AM on March 9, 2008

Cards are much appreciated. As 26.2 mentioned, they are posted on the staff lounge bulletin board and remind us nurses that our profession isn't thankless. In addition to donuts and other baked goods, nurses (and doctors and other support staff) LOVE pizza.
posted by LecheFresca at 9:33 AM on March 9, 2008

Send the card to the Director of Nurses.
posted by yclipse at 9:54 AM on March 9, 2008

I have a friend in administration at a hospital in NYC and she votes for cookies.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 10:01 AM on March 9, 2008

All of these are fantastic ideas! Make sure to thank everyone especially your nurses, the patient-aides, other therapists (physical therapy, respiratory therapy), interns, students, residents, and of course doctors. More people looked after you than you probably realize! Congrats on getting out.
posted by ruwan at 10:44 AM on March 9, 2008

When I spent a considerable amount of time with a family-member in the hospital, my father (who once worked extensively in a hospital) gave me a great piece of advice. Here's what I learned, and what I did with that knowledge:

From what I've garnered, nurses get a lot of chocolate as "thank yous" from previous patients/guests. They always appreciate the gesture, but the constant barrage of sugary treats becomes monotonous, and dealing with the sugar crashes in the face of a 12-hour shift can be formidable.

Thus, when I came in to the hospital one day with an enormous bag of Noah's bagels, a variety of different cream cheeses, two beautiful vegetable platters with dip, and a big sushi sampler (you can pick one up fairly reasonably at Costco, etc.), the nurses' excitement was visible. Word of the food spread quickly across the floor, and over the course of the next hour I watched as almost half the staff made their way into the break-room to grab some of the food. They were all so excited that it wasn't cookies, doughnuts, or the other typical 'sweet things' that guests usually brought as a 'thank you.'

Also, as mentioned above, a thoughtful, hand-written card is always appreciated.

This is also my secret when I want to get in good with the hospital staff. Bring nourishing, delicious food! The gratitude will translate into more attention and better treatment for the patient you're visiting.
posted by numinous at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2008

A letter naming names (if you can remember them) will do the nurses' and care workers well come annual review time. Addressing it to the president or CEO is probably the easiest, and it will trickle down to the appropriate managers.

Food is good (and numinous has it on the 'less sugar = better' front); around here the 'fruit bouquets' are popular.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2008

Definitely notes of appreciation. Fruit baskets are a nice idea; add some granola bars and individually wrapped chocolate truffles.
posted by theora55 at 4:12 PM on March 9, 2008

My vote would be for a card or letter and healthy snacks like a good fruit and veggie selection. It's probably not within your reach to make sure the night shifters get their part of the snacks, but try to remember to thank them too! You'll make their day I'm sure :)
posted by mabelcolby at 5:48 PM on March 9, 2008

Another vote for a card, however, a hand-made BIG card, or a purchased BIG card, that can be distinctly posted on a board (even if they don't have a board for this purpose yet) would be nicer.
posted by manish at 7:12 PM on March 9, 2008

My mom went to Bath and Body Works (during sale time, I should point out) and got a lot of hand sanitizer. I guess it went over well.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:35 PM on March 10, 2008

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