Nurse Managers

A Brief History of National Nurses Week

The history of National Nurses Week dates back to the 1950s when a proposal was made to President Eisenhower to proclaim a "Nurse Day."

National Nurses Week is an annual celebration that honors nurses for their contributions to society. It is observed from May 6 to May 12 every year, with May 12 being the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing. The history of National Nurses Week dates back to the 1950s when a proposal was made to President Eisenhower to proclaim a “Nurse Day” in October of that year. However, it was not until 1982 that National Nurses Week was officially recognized by the United States Congress.

The first National Nurses Week was observed from May 6 to May 12, 1982. The dates were chosen to coincide with the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale was a British nurse who is best known for her work during the Crimean War, where she established the first professional nursing school and is credited with raising the standards of nursing care.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) was instrumental in the establishment of National Nurses Week. The ANA is a professional organization that represents over four million registered nurses in the United States. The organization was founded in 1911 and has played a significant role in shaping the nursing profession in the United States. The ANA lobbied Congress to officially recognize National Nurses Week, and in 1982, the resolution was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

National Nurses Week has become an important event in the nursing profession, and it is celebrated in a variety of ways. Many hospitals and healthcare organizations hold events and ceremonies to honor their nurses. Some schools of nursing hold graduation ceremonies during National Nurses Week, and some nursing associations hold conferences and workshops. In addition, the ANA and other nursing organizations use National Nurses Week as an opportunity to promote the nursing profession and to raise awareness about issues facing nurses and the healthcare industry as a whole.

The theme for National Nurses Week changes each year and is chosen by the ANA. Some past themes have included “Nurses: Leading the Way” and “Nurses: Making a Difference.” This year, the theme is “Nurses Make a Difference: Anytime, Anywhere – Always”. This honors the unwavering commitment of nurses to their patients and the value they provide to the unified health care team in accomplishing their medical readiness mission.

To the nurses and health care teams leading on the front lines and behind the scenes: May you feel honored and appreciated this week and every week. Your hard work, compassion, and dedication to your patients and the nursing profession do not go unnoticed. Thank you for all that you do, and please know that you are valued. Happy National Nurses Week!

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