10 Meaningful Thank You Gifts for Nurses

Some may call them nurses, we call them superheroes. Today and every day we give thanks for nurses and all of the extra hours and hard work they put into caring for others. 

Whether it’s writing a small note, buying a gift card, or simply saying thank you, meaningful gifts for nurses come in all shapes and sizes. 

Need some inspiration? We asked our Facebook followers to share the best nurse appreciation gifts they’ve given or received. Keep reading to see their heartfelt ideas! 

Note: Check with your hospital or clinic on their gift policy beforehand. There may be restrictions on gifts for staff.

1. Gift Cards

Whether it’s to a popular retail store or a tasty local restaurant, gift cards are the perfect, simple way to show gratitude for our nurses. Giving a nurse a gift card is great because it encourages them to treat themselves for all of their hard work, and they don’t have to spend a penny! 

2. Flowers 

Put a smile on a nurse’s face with a colorful bouquet of flowers sent to their workplace. Flowers can be ordered quickly online or over the phone, and are a great way to brighten anyone’s day. Pair the bouquet with a handwritten note to make it more personalized. 

3. Spa Day & Professional Massages

Nurses work on their feet for long (and we mean long) periods of time. Because of this, their job can be hard on their bodies.

Give the gift of relaxation with a glorious spa gift card. Mani-pedis and facials are other great gifts for winding down. 

“A spa day would be great after hours and hours of taking care of patients!”

Gloria R.

4. Gift Baskets

Show your thanks to a nurse by packing a gift basket full of all their favorite goodies. Gift baskets are versatile yet simple gifts that can be easily customized.

Creating a themed nursing gift basket is an easy way to make the gesture thoughtful and unique. Add in treats like homemade baked goods, self-care items or personalized cards for an amazing gift! Bonus points if the item is something handmade or personal. 

“As far as a physical gift, I’ve gotten books, pajamas (loved that), a winter hat for Christmas. My favorite thing was a tiny pot that a Native American patient painted. He brought in a bunch for everyone and I still have it three years later!”

Mallory R.

“Homemade gifts of any kind, gift cards for Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, journals, lotion, socks, candles or scentsy wax bars, handwritten letters from former patients and families, etc..”

Michele V.

5. Meals on Long Shifts

When the shift takes off, it can be difficult to find time to head to the cafeteria, or find a restaurant that’s open if you’re on night shift. Take one step out of a nurse’s busy schedule by ordering a delicious meal to their workplace during their shift!

“[There are] a lot of pizza parties on day shifts, trash cans full of empty pizza boxes on nights. We had sandwiches arrive early on night shifts – really? For ME? Now THAT was sweet. There isn’t anywhere to order from after the shift gets cranking, and I didn’t eat at 5pm when I fed my children. Now that I am a patient, I know what to do, I’ve told my family. We know we make a difference, that is why we chose this life.”

Betsy B.

6. Home Cooked Meals 

Nurses devote the majority of their time and energy during the week giving back and caring for others. Because of this, extra time during the workday to make a home cooked meal can be rare. 

Take a task off a nurse’s hands by cooking some meals that are ready to pop in the oven once they get home. Instead of worrying about what to make for dinner, your gift will give a nurse an extra hour or more for relaxing after a long shift. 

“[For] nurses working on the floor or a department we have done large boxes of candy, pizza parties, for the special ones we have gotten gift cards. For our at-home nurses, I have gotten them dinners home-cooked or gift cards, snacks, etc.”

Erica M.

7. Handwritten Letters

Gifts don’t have to be extravagant to touch someone’s heart! In fact, a handwritten letter written to a nurse that helped you or your family can be incredibly meaningful.

Nurses work long hours to take care of us and our loved ones. Give them some kind words of appreciation to encourage them to keep pushing forward!

“I genuinely think a heartfelt note goes such a long way. Knowing that a patient or family noticed and appreciated what you did for them is a great gift.”

Mallory R.

“My favorite gift is a handwritten card. It’s the feeling of being appreciated for me.”

Monica H.

8. Cozy Socks & Clothes 

Slipping into some sweats after a long shift can be the best moment of the day. Give a nurse some cozies to look forward to after work! Throw in some self-care items like a new scented lotion or face mask for the perfect relaxing gift. 

9. Day & Night Shift Treat Boxes

Create boxes full of homemade treats, healthy snacks, and caffeinated drinks designated for day and night shift workers. Creating separate boxes for shifts ensures that everyone gets a treat! 

“We get a lot of donuts and pizza from management, and we all like getting something healthy(ish), like yummy granola bars or even something homemade.”

Mallory R.

10. Just Say Thank You

Nurses work to have a positive influence on our lives. While physical gifts are great ways to show your gratitude, simply giving a verbal and heartfelt thank you can truly mean so much. 

Whatever way you choose to show your thanks, make sure it is given with heartfelt gratitude and love. We hope that these thank you gift ideas got you inspired to give back to the nurses who had a positive impact on your life.

What are the best gifts you’ve given or received?

Whether you’ve had a particularly influential group of nurses help you and your family, or you’re a frontline worker yourself, what gift has moved you to keep giving? Comment your favorites below!

Start a CaringBridge Site

When you’re going through a health journey, CaringBridge replaces the time-consuming task of sharing your health news over and over. It’s a free, easy to use online journal for sharing health information with your family and friends.

Don’t go through your health journey alone.

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely free of charge, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!

  • JG

    I have gone through the grief of losing my older daughter two months ago and can truthfully say that reading all of the wonderful comments on her post from her friends and family made a big difference in how I feel. She was appreciated, loved, admired, is missed and I am so glad that her wonderful partner and her darling sister were her caregivers once she was home fro the hospital, and they were with her as she died. I could not be due to the Covid restrictions and I also can’t travel as I have cancer and have been on chemotherapy. Caroline’s treatments did their best but not all of us “win out”. I wish it had been me rather than her who didn’t make it. But how proud I am of her, and I love her forever. JG

  • Your friend from long ago

    I’m not a nurse, but I’ve done a lot of people-care as well as hospice work and teaching English as a second language and other help for people facing challenges. I don’t often get thank you notes, but I prized even the simplest ones. My advice is: keep those cards in a drawer somewhere. I did. Now at 82 my brain is not good for much, but I can read those old notes and remember and be reminded of the good things I did without thinking about “doing good”. It’s like what a nurse does. When I was 75, my son made one of those photo-books and got old friends to write something about me. He did it secretly. Now that I’m not capable of much, it means so much to me and I keep my collection of thank you notes with it. Don’t be embarrassed to keep that stuff. You’ll do a lot that you’ll never be thanked for because they don’t even know where or even who you are. Honor the people who were able to respond and know that the so many of the ones who didn’t never forgot you.

  • Christine Engblom

    As a hospice nurse years ago I was given some memorable gifts from patients or their families. A Swedish Orefors candy dish that a patient designated for me after she died; a peace plant that was one of my patient’s; and precious handwritten cards. Almost 20 years later I still have these and still remember who they were from! Find memories of people I was privileged to accompany on their journey.

  • Joy/prefer to remain anonymous

    Perhaps this is outdated, or only from certain areas of the United States, but as a BSN, RN, I was always taught
    that nurses couldn’t accept any, or almost any gifts. Pizza, sandwiches, chocolates, bakery food, or other edibles for the whole staff/floor, maybe a bouquet of flowers to be enjoyed by everyone was appreciated. Certainly not any individual gift cards or gifts of any kind. A note of thanks or verbal thanks was really all that was acceptable. Has the ethics changed?

  • Nancy Olson

    With many working to maintain a healthy body, food gifts are especially appreciated if they contain fruit and healthy food rather than donuts and sweets. The gifts are so appreciated and especially a heartfelt thank you verbally or a written note.
    Thank you
    Nancy RN