As your nurses ride the highs and lows of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re courageously facing more challenges than ever. There are increasing demands for care, PPE shortages, concerns about their physical and psychological safety, and managing a work-life balance. And even as they confront all of these obstacles, they remain the essential human connection for their patients. How do you reward your nurses for their steadfastness? Meaningful recognition. It’s a powerful way to let your staff know they make a difference.

Tipton Health Communications recently hosted a webinar focused on how to operationalize meaningful recognition during the pandemic. The Why and How of Nurse Recognition During the Pandemic from the DAISY Foundation offered expert insight from Bonnie Barnes, DAISY Foundation co-founder; Tena Barnes Carraher, DAISY Foundation vice president of marketing and communications; and Cynthia Sweeney, DNP, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN, CAPT, USNR, NC, Ret, DAISY Foundation Vice President of Nursing.

Options for Recognition

  • Formal: You can pursue external awards through foundations or annual awards that your organization has established.
  • Informal: A good way to keep the appreciation flowing is to give weekly shout-outs, appreciation awards and the occasional thank-you notes.

During the webinar, The DAISY Foundation leadership referenced a study conducted by Cindy Lefton, PhD, RN, CPXP, which examined the effect of critical care nurses’ compassion fatigue. She says that meaningful recognition helps reduce burnout and increase compassion satisfaction as it mitigates compassion fatigue.

“[It] acknowledges how a person’s actions affect the life of another, is relevant to the recipient and is equivalent to his or her contribution,” Dr. Lefton added.

Digitally Collect Nominations

Whether you’re submitting applicants for a recognition award like a DAISY award or looking to acknowledge your nurses through an organization-specific award, be sure to make the nomination process easy and quick. Set up an online form for staff, as well as family and patients, to capture the extraordinary experiences that are currently happening within the organization.

Additionally, ask unit managers to submit at least one story each month of an extraordinary nurse or nurse-led team.

Setting Up a Virtual Review Process

It’s time to select your winning staff from the flood of nominations. Create a scoring system based on your organization’s core values and use Survey Monkey to have your selection committee vote on the best nominations. Then set up a conference or video call for a final committee discussion.

Celebrating Your Nurses

  • Award Presentation: Use Skype/Teams/Facetime or Zoom to invite a bigger audience to “attend.” Make sure to record the celebration and share it on one of your patient channels, your website and your social media. Plan an event to bring all the nurses recognized during these modified presentations back together at a later date for a larger reception and acknowledgment.
  • A Token of Appreciation: Consider investing in a banner that celebrates your recipients, and hang in a central location. Or purchase a pin they can wear at work as a badge of honor!


Learn More from Our Speakers

Visit to view our on-demand webinar video on the why and how of nursing recognition.

Tipton’s next webinar, A Continuation of the Discussion on Race, Inclusive Practices and Nursing, will be held July 28, 2020, 12:30–1:30 p.m. EDT.