It's customary to verbally thank a nurse for her care as you get ready to head home from the hospital, but following up with a handwritten note of thanks helps you express the magnitude of your gratitude. Effective notes of thanks always stick to the task of saying "thank you" and explaining why you're thankful. You can send a note to the entire nursing team who cared for you or write to each nurse individually.
Confirm the Nurses' Names
If you're impressed with the care of one or more nurses during your hospital stay, do your best to learn their names and make note of this information before you leave. Although you can look up the hospital's mailing address and any necessary information about the department, knowing the name of each nurse to whom you intend to write saves your trying to call the hospital and learn the names of those who cared for you.
Write With Gratitude
Begin the note of thanks by writing "Dear" and the nurse's name. If you've decided to write a single note of thanks to a team of nurses, write all the nurses' names together. Use the body of your note to express your thanks and provide some examples that explain why you're so appreciative. For example, write, "Thank you so much for the top-notch care you provided after my surgery. I was definitely nervous about spending the night in the hospital, but your gentle approach immediately made me feel comfortable." The body of the note doesn't have to be lengthy; it's better to be brief and allow your words to have impact than be excessively wordy.
Discuss Future Connection
A note of thanks typically wraps up with a sentence or two discussing a future connection with the note recipient. Depending on the nature of your hospital visit, you can address this area sincerely or make a joke about it. For example, you could write that you hope to see the nurse again when you have another baby. Alternatively, write that as much as you appreciated the nurse's care, you hope you won't have to visit the hospital again for a long time -- but if you do, you hope to see the nurse again.
Closing and Gift-Giving
Sign off with a cheerful, appreciative closing, such as, "Thanks again," or, "With gratitude," and then write your name. Because the nurse might not immediately identify you by name, you can add additional information in brackets, such as you were in the hospital overnight last week for a hip replacement. If a nurse especially impressed you with her care, you can enclose a gift in the note; typically, gift cards are effective presents for people you don't know well. If you plan to give a gift, call the hospital to ensure gifts are permitted.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.