Superlatives: An Alternate List for Nurses Week

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.

Click here to explore other posts by Marcy Phipps on this blog.

Chief flight nurse at Global Jetcare.


  1. Susan May 13, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I love this alternative list. Nursing is such a unique profession – it makes sense that the award list should also be unique!

  2. Ginny May 6, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Do you know how sadly rare your experience is? Part of the nursing shortage is not because there aren’t enough nurses, but because many RNs choose to leave nursing because of, among other reasons, working conditions. All too many of us have at one time or another worked in positions that would be considered hostile working environments. It’s a breath of fresh air to hear your story of comeradery and complimentary support.

  3. Richard G. Shuster May 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    A Nurse Is More© ( May is Nurse’s Month / Nurse’s Week is May 6-12 )

    A Nurse Is More©

    A Nurse is more, Why?
    Though nobody, can say why, for sure,
    Nurse’s desire, for service, is pure.
    Not for themselves, it has to be for others.
    A life dedicated, to their sisters and their brothers.

    A Nurse is more, How?
    Through reserves, of strength, care and love,
    Nurses take their lead, from the power above.
    Above and beyond, their duty comes first.
    Their patient’s needs paramount, before even hunger and thirst.

    A Nurse is more, When?
    When we need them the most, at our times of ill,
    Nurses come through, with their care and goodwill.
    When we feel we can’t go on, and wish, to give up the ghost.
    That’s when our Nurses, give it their most.

    A Nurse is more, Where?
    In the hospital, the battlefield, the clinic, school, home or hospice,
    Nurses are there, in the ER, the OR, the workplace, and medical office.
    Where we are, to go for our care, thankfully, we find Nurses there.
    Aging, sick, fearful, weary, we turn to Nurses, and know they care.

    A Nurse is more,
    A Nurse is more, much more than all we’ve said, or all we can say,
    other than, to acknowledge the Nurses, who so brighten our day.
    In gratitude, we thank Nurses, their willingness to serve, we find so appealing,
    bringing to us, their comfort, wisdom, compassion and healing.

    Richard G. Shuster, RandomlyRamblingRick, A Nurse Is More©

    A Nurse is More© was written to honor all Nurses and Dedicated to Jeannine E. Shuster, R.N.
    May is Nurses Month, Honor a Nurse. Permission is granted to reproduce this poem for any Nurses forum.
    Nurse’s Week and Nurse’s Day are during May. If you know a Nurse, are related to a Nurse,
    or just would like to thank a Nurse, please send or give a copy of this poem.
    RandomlyRamblingRick, at Point Man Ministries

  4. Jennifer Scott ARNP April 30, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    As I was reading those lists, I recognized several of them describing coworkers of my past at the hospital. Some I might have even won myself. While I am so glad that I finished my degree and am able to “call the shots” with my patients, I also miss being a floor nurse at the hospital. For those who are thinking of trying to become an ARNP without having med/surg experience, think hard about it. It really helped me in my decision making processes.

  5. Skip K. April 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    My hospital does the same thing! Last year I won the pacifier for “Biggest Crybaby”, but there’s nothing wrong with showing emotion sometimes! What I should have won was “Least Likely to Be Jaded.” LOL! I love Nurses Week.

  6. Peggy April 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    In my last hospital-based clinical position I had the pleasure of working with an amazing team! It often felt like we read each other’s minds when things were crazy- as thing got done, in a timely fashion, without much verbal communication. Our manager was also one of my all time best over 25 years of nursing! If you are part of a great team, do take the time to recognize each other- we often don’t hear it from anyone else. Happy Friday

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