National Nurses Day is observed annually on May 6. 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 6 and ends on May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910). Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English, social reformer, statistician and thefounder 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
Each year the American Nurses Association (ANA) chooses a theme to acknowledge the many services provided by nurses everywhere. The year has been designated the “Year of the Healthy Nurse and as such, the National Nurses Week 2017 theme is”Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” Focusing on those set the example and creating a culture of a healthy balance, the ANA’s 2017 theme provides significant resources to guide nurses to achieving these goals. Use #NationalNursesDay to share on social media.
It was in 1953 when an employee at the United States Department of Health, Dorothy Sutherland, sent a letter to President Eisenhower proposing a National Nurses Day. The 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.” In 1981, a resolution was initiated by nurses in New Mexico to have May 6th declared “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” This proposal was promoted by the ANA Board of Directors. In 1982, the United States Congress designated May 6th to be “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” The proposal was signed by President Reagan. It was later expanded by the ANA Board of Directors in 1990 to a week-long celebration (May 6-12) known as “National Nurses Week.”