An internet-supported nurse who received an ‘insulting’ gift from her employer

Thousands of commenters have defended a nurse who shared a picture of a lackluster gift they received from her employer on a popular online forum.

In a viral Reddit post posted on r/antiwork, Redditor u/Personal-Pound-2260 posted a photo of the gift, which consists of an assortment of items placed in a small plastic bag. Titled “The Feeling of Appreciation My Employer Shows to Diminishing and Overworked Nursing Staff,” the viral post received nearly 16,000 votes and 1,900 comments.

The illustrated plastic bag includes seven items, as well as a scrap of paper containing a few semi-inspirational messages.

Describing each of the elements, the letters read: “A penny – so you will never break. [A]Elastic band – to stretch far beyond your limit. Snickers – Because laughter is the best medicine. String – to hold things together when everything falls apart. Sweets – When you feel like throwing something away. Hugs and kisses – to remind you that you are loved. Tea – Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it.”

Despite the supposedly positive intentions behind the little gift bag, commenters responding to the viral Reddit post were appalled by the idea that the gesture was intended to appease the reductive nursing staff.

“Jesus,” Redditor u/Right-Contestant5264 commented. “What an insult.”

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 9 percent growth in employment rates for registered nurses by 2030, the United States has a massive nursing shortage.

Overworked nurses
Reddit users rallied behind a nurse who shared a photo of the faded gift they received from their employee as a token of appreciation.
Evan Palvan/iStock/Getty Images Plus

With 19,500 expected jobs for registered nurses each year between now and the end of the decade, more than 1,000,000 new nurses will be needed to meet the health care needs of elderly Americans. And since the emergence of COVID-19 in March 2020, the need for registered nurses has only increased.

However, as the average age of registered nurses continues to rise across the country, an increasing number of nurses are leaving the workforce, by retiring or moving into another field.

For registered nurses who have remained in hospitals and other medical facilities throughout the pandemic, long working hours and inadequate protective measures have created potential safety risks, as well as many exhausted nurses.

Last December, a National Nurses United poll showed that 83 percent of nurses nationwide reported half of their shifts were understaffed. The survey also revealed that 68 percent of the nurses surveyed had considered leaving their jobs in the past year.

In response to a viral Reddit post by u/Personal-Pound-2260, several commentators said half-hearted attempts to reward registered nurses for their work, rather than raise wages, are a major reason many considered leaving the profession altogether.

In one of the top comments posted, which received over 2,100 votes, Redditor u/Equivalent_Health913 lamented the various tokens of appreciation they received while working in childcare.

“I worked these frivolous gifts in the nursery all the time,” they wrote. “Do you know what I didn’t get? More money.”

Another commenter added: “I literally take out the coin and name it a gift bag.” “Things are nice but God damn it, when they frame them as packages of appreciation in the workplace, it’s just a concession.”

Amid many comments referring to the gift offered in the viral post as “trash,” one Redditor said this type of offering is appropriate as a holiday prank, but shows no actual appreciation for struggling medical professionals.

They commented, “This is more like a kind of solitary gift for a holiday party, but the Regulators have only a tone deaf enough to attract litters like this.”

NEWSWEEK I contacted United National Nurses for comment.