Photo from otisarchives4, via Flickr.

By Marcy Phipps, BSN, RN, CCRN. We originally published this post in 2010, but it’s so good we wanted to share it again this week. Enjoy!

During Nurses Week (May 6–12), the hospital where I work gives out endearing little trophies as awards for “nursing superlatives.” Ballots are distributed with predetermined categories, and the categories are usually fun and relatively straightforward. They include:

  • Best at Starting an IV
  • Most Likely to Crack a Raunchy Joke before Noon
  • Most Likely to Cry at Some Point during a Shift
  • Funniest Nurse
  • Most “Germ-a-Phobic” Nurse

The contests and catered meals, fun gifts, and light-hearted spirit of Nurses Week make it one of the nicest work weeks of the year, and we all come out of it feeling appreciated. But, in consideration of nursing superlatives, I’d like to propose some new categories. Although these titles won’t fit on the trophy plates, I think they’re worthy of recognition.

  • Most Likely to Notice, By the Tone of Another Nurse’s Voice, That Said Nurse Is Approaching a ‘Tilt’ Level of Stress, and Intervene Accordingly
  • Most Likely to Volunteer to Assist with Postmortem Care  (a job that nobody looks forward to, but that’s nonetheless important)
  • Most Likely to Accompanying Another Nurse on the Transport of an Unstable Patient to a Necessary Scan
  • Most Flexible; or Most Likely to Switch Shifts on Short Notice to Accommodate Another Nurse’s Unexpected Family Events

I’m often caught off guard by how perceptive my team is. The subtle interactions among us frequently surprise me, but they shouldn’t. We know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and quirks very well. We make each other better and build each other up, and the security provided by that connectedness is priceless and vital.

I don’t mean to imply that we’re perfect. I’m not even sure we’re unique. But our engagements with each other make our team far stronger than the sum of its parts—and it shows in the care we provide.

This Nurses Week, if I were the one determining the categories, I’d award our team the title “The Most Amazing Nursing Team on the Planet.” A bit over-the-top, perhaps, but aptly so. In the spirit of nursing superlatives, I work with the smartest, most skilled, and kindest people in the world, and they’re worthy of the finest title I can imagine.