National Nurses Day is observed annually on May 6th. On this day, we raise awareness of all nurse contributions and commitments and acknowledge the vital role nurses play in society. This day is also the first day of National Nurses Week and is sometimes known as National RN Recognition Day.
National Nurses Week begins May 6th and ends on May 12th, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910). Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English, social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She became well-known while taking care of the wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Nightingale was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” because of her habit of making rounds at night.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalNursesDay
Recognize nurses everywhere. Celebrate their dedication and commitment to their patients and their profession. Tell someone about the excellent care you’ve received from a nurse.
When you visit the doctor or have surgery, follow the instructions they give you, especially follow up care. Ask questions, so they know when you need more information. They can’t read your minds.
Give nurses you know a shout out and thank them for their hard work, especially during these challenging times.
Use #NationalNursesDay to share on social media.
NATIONAL NURSES DAY HISTORY
In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland, an employee at the United States Department of Health, sent a letter to President Eisenhower proposing a National Nurses Day. An official proclamation was not made. The following year people began celebrating National Nurses Week on their own.
In 1974, President Nixon proclaimed a National Nurse Week. New Mexico nurses initiated a resolution in 1981 to have May 6th declared National Recognition Day for Nurses. The American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors took up the banner and promoted the proposal. In 1982, the United States Congress designated May 6th to be National Recognition Day for Nurses and President Ronald Reagan signed the proposal. The ANA Board of Directors later expanded the celebration in 1990 to a week-long celebration (May 6-12) known as National Nurses Week.
Each year the American Nurses Association (ANA) chooses a theme to acknowledge the many services provided by nurses everywhere during National Nurses Week. Examples of past themes include:
2000- Nurses: Keeping the Care in Healthcare
2002 – Nurses Care for America
2003 – Nurses: Lifting Spirits, Touching Lives
2006 – Nurses: Strength, Commitment, Compassion
2015 – Ethical Practice. Quality Care.
2018 – Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence
2019 – 4 Million Reasons to Celebrate
2020 – Nurses: A Voice to Lead