Nursing assistants are often thought of as the lowest paid and hardest working staff in a hospital or clinic environment, and many of their patients or their families would like to show appreciation for the care demonstrated. In general the nurse aide will spend more time with individual patients than any nurse or doctor, and help patients with grooming, getting dressed, moving around, reading and writing, and many other basic tasks a healthy able bodies person takes for granted.
Often the nurse assistant becomes friend and counselor to patients, listening to their fears or lifting their spirits with a joke or compliment. Families of patients will often hear from the nurse assistant about the progress of their loved one before they have the chance to speak to another medical professional, even though nurse assistants are not qualified to give medical prognosis. This demonstrates the level of trust society places in medical staff, regardless of level of training.
For many patients and their families it seems only appropriate then to show their appreciation which can take many forms, from a thank you card, to a gift, and monetary compensation. It isn’t unheard of for wealthy patients to pay for a holiday for their favorite caregiver. All gifts are well received by most nurse assistants; however there can be unintended consequences that need to be thought about prior to giving a gift.
A gift card, bunch of flowers, or box of chocolates are rarely a problem and demonstrate a genuine sense of appreciation for the hard work of the caregiver, and will be accepted with good grace by most medical staff including nurse assistants. In the staff canteen colleagues will be supportive and encouraging of the nurse aide, and in the high stress environment of a hospital or medical facility gifts are a powerful motivator too, leading to pride in a job well done.
Regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity, a simple gift will always be appreciated especially if a little thought makes the gift personal to the receiver from a patient they have come to know and care about. Hand writing a card, or picking a card that says more than the gesture because it is handmade or bought because it will appeal to the person receiving it are considered highly and allows the nurse assistant to add the card to their box of mementoes, even more so if a photo of the patient and nurse assistant together can be captured.
Remember however, some gifts might be considered extravagant and can impose a financial burden on the nurse assistant. The most obvious cause of that would be a gift of value that the tax authorities would consider to be income instead of a gift. Whilst giving the gift of money seems like a great idea, be sure to check with the nurse assistant or their employer before making the gift, and if in doubt, consult a financial adviser.
Aside from issues of taxation, other gifts may be inappropriate and could see the nurse assistant called before an ethics committee to determine if they solicited the gift or if the reputation of the field of medicine has been sullied in any way. Gifts such as holidays, paying for services, or offering to provide references may at first seem harmless but strict laws apply in most jurisdictions, and are enforced to ensure fair treatment of patients.