For the thousands of patients that visit a hospital or clinic every day, the nurse is usually the first and last person they see.

While doctors might get the prestige, nurses serve as caregivers, emotional support and teachers, and are many times the greatest advocate a patient can have. They are right there at the front lines of patient care, providing that human interaction and warmth that is part of any successful treatment.

For these reasons and many more, small businesses in the healthcare sector should mark Wednesday, March 19, on their calendar, because that is National Certified Nurses Day. That day (or the entire week for that matter!), is a fantastic opportunity to show how much you appreciate the nurses you work with day in and day out.

Here are four suggestions on how to do just that.

Employee recognition awards

From March 17th through the 21st, consider issuing an employee recognition award each day. This will directly show your employees how much you appreciate and can serve as a way for the entire staff to celebrate. Gift cards to local stores or restaurants make convenient and affordable awards.

You can also get their patients involved to really drive home how much nurses are appreciated. For example, the Boston Globe asked patients from a range of care facilities to send in letters nominating nurses they appreciate! You can read a number of these beautiful letters here.

Lunch, treats and snacks

It’s amazing how a box of donuts or a few dozen bagels can brighten up an otherwise ordinary day. Providing break-room snacks or buying your staff lunch in appreciation of National Certified Nurses Day is a simple and hugely appreciated gesture any clinic can make. And you don’t need to limit yourself to just the 19th; treats, snacks and meals throughout the entire week can really boost morale.

If you’re looking for some great ideas on how to create the ultimate snack station. That would be Snack Nations specialty. Check are their office snacking best practices to make the most of the day!

Plan a fun team-building outing

Is there a better way to say thank you than by cutting the workday short and taking everyone out to happy hour or to go bowling? We call this a team-building exercise, which might make some people groan, but the emphasis should be on fun.

And here are some great activity ideas specifically geared towards nursing teams!

It might be too late to plan a half-day outing during the week of National Certified Nurses Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t issue a rain check!

Be loud and clear about your appreciation

Your gratitude for your staff is not something to be subtle about! Let the world know how much you appreciate your nurses with posters, commemorative gifts and even stickers. You can find these and other items at the store for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses or you can download some through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Here’s a thank you card you can print out, add a personal note to and deliver!

Of course, we think nurses deserve to be recognized for their work each day of the year. But, National Certified Nurses Day is an opportunity to let them know how much you value their work and the contributions they make. So don’t wait! And show them how much you care but using any one of these tips.

Need some other ideas around how to show your appreciation? Here are 5 more ways!