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For Nurses, Hearing ‘Thank You’ at Work Boosts Much More than Their Mood

When we nurses don’t have time to play cards at work (and that’s basically every shift, Sen. Walsh), another activity might work even better to help us get through the day: getting a little encouragement every now and again.

According to a new study, telling a nurse “thank you” can boost their quality of care, overall job performance and even their health. Published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, the research used multilevel mediation models to monitor Oregon-based nurses for 12 weeks. Being thanked more often improved nurses’ satisfaction with the care they provided. Plus, they reported higher sleep quality and adequacy, fewer headaches and more attempts to make more nutritious food choices.

RELATED: Nurses Who Feel Unsupported at Work May Have Higher Risk of Injury

And we all know what happens as a result of having a healthier, happier nurse. He or she will be better-equipped to deliver effective care, which leads to higher patient satisfaction. And what might a patient who feels more satisfied with his or her care do in return? You guessed it! Say thanks for a job well done.

A simple expression of gratitude can have a powerful ripple effect, especially on days when the job feels completely thankless. The ones where you successfully treat your patient, only to have their family member reprimand you for forgetting to grab that ice water; you catch that falling lab and alert the doctor in time, but then your supervisor will chide you for not completing your CEUs by the deadline; you take an extra shift for your favorite coworker—but then you get hit with all the admits when you’re exhausted… and you know she’ll never return the favor.

But a sign that your effort’s been noticed and appreciated can make it all worth it. And fortunately, more evidence-based studies are delving into how to better support nurses and the benefits of a positive workplace for care providers and patients alike. So, more formal structures for expressing gratitude on the job could be on the horizon. We don’t have to wait for hospital administrators to set the official mandates, though.

RELATED: 9 Heartfelt Thank-Yous to Nurses from Patients That Will Bring a Tear to Your Eye

As nurses, let’s all make an effort to say “thanks” to our coworkers more often. After all, where would you be without the nurse who fetched the blanket for your patient when you got busy? You can even buy one of these sweet thank-you notes (created by a fellow nurse!) and drop it in your coworker’s scrub pocket.

You never know when a simple “thank you” will change someone’s entire week.

Gratitude reception and physical health: Examining the mediating role of satisfaction with patient care in a sample of acute care nurses, Taylor & Francis.

Last updated on 10/1/19.

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