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?
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 celebrating School Nurse Day on the 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. Achievements include helping change how nursing was perceived, nursing education, and raised the standards of nursing care. Her biography of life achievements can be found on the National Women’s History Museum website.
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.