The Story Behind National Nurses Day

Nurses are making the headlines now more than ever, most often the image of frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. Before this virus was a household name, the World Health Organization had already declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse”. What is the history behind the celebrations of the most honest profession for the past 18 years?

Plot Twist! This post originally appeared on our sister website in 2020 or 2021 and transferred to on 4/4/2022. Some posts may seem to reference a time in our pandemic state that doesn’t fit with life in 2022 – so that’s why! Thank you for checking our posts and always stay tuned for more!

National Nurses Day

Request for recognition for nurses started back in 1953. The ANA (American Nurses Association) outlines the entire history of how May 6th was chosen as National Nurses Day.

They declared May 6th through May 12th – ending on Florence Nightingale’s Birthday – as National Nurses Week. Then, in 1998, May 8th was designated National Student Nurses Day as well as celebrating School Nurse Day on Wednesday during National Nurses Week.

Who is Florence Nightingale?

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. Her family was British and returned to England shortly after her birth.

Florence is considered the founder of modern nursing. Her achievements include helping change how nursing was perceived, nursing education, and raised the standards of nursing care. You can find her biography of life achievements can be found on the National Women’s History Museum website.

Nurses Month

The American Nurses Association, a steadfast advocate for the nursing profession, declared May the month of nurses. Each week, the ANA has a focus on different areas of nursing:

  • Self-Care (May 1-9)
  • Recognition (May 10-16)
  • Professional Development (May 17-23)
  • Community Engagement (May 24-31)

Year of the Nurse

To commemorate Florence Nightingale’s 200th Birthday, the World Health Organization declared that 2020 would be the “Year of the Nurse“.

Nursing certainly started off with a bang this year and we have been doing what we do best. Caring, educating, healing, advocating, and supporting patients and co-workers.

We have come a long way since Florence, and will continue to promote our profession and celebrate our achievements. Most importantly, we will be there for our patients.

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