I remember how, as a director of nursing, I wanted to give my staff something during the holidays that would have special meaning and demonstrate how much they were appreciated. Yes, we had the traditional holiday parties and celebrations, but it always seemed that more should be done to show them how much I valued the work they did. The staff worked hard and were underpaid for the physical and emotional toll of their caregiving role.
Years later, as part of my doctoral work on nurse leadership, I researched the topic of resilience. To my surprise, being thankful and showing appreciation to those around us plays a significant role in managing stress and developing resilience, particularly in difficult work environments. Being thankful, or having an “attitude of gratitude,” as I often call it, benefits both giver and receiver and has no financial cost requirements. Dr. Paul White, author of The Vibrant Workplace, lists six positive results of leaders’ showing appreciation for staff: