National Nurses Week History
National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on
May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s Birthday
In the early 1850s, Nightingale returned to London, where she took a nursing job in a Middlesex hospital for ailing governesses. Her performance there so impressed her employer that Nightingale was promoted to superintendant within just a year of being hired. The position proved challenging as Nightingale grappled with a cholera outbreak and unsanitary conditions conducive to the rapid spread of the disease. Nightingale made it her mission to improve hygiene practices, significantly lowering the death rate at the hospital in the process. The hard work took a toll on her health. She had just barely recovered when the biggest challenge of her nursing career presented itself.In October of 1853, the Crimean War broke out. The British Empire was at war against the Russian Empire for control of the Ottoman Empire. Thousands of British soldiers were sent to the Black Sea, where supplies quickly dwindled. By 1854, no fewer than 18,000 soldiers had been admitted into military hospitals.At the time, there were no female nurses stationed at hospitals in the Crimea. The poor reputation of past female nurses had led the war office to avoid hiring more. But, after the Battle of Alma, England was in an uproar about the neglect of their ill and injured soldiers, who not only lacked sufficient medical attention due to hospitals being horribly understaffed, but also languished in appallingly unsanitary and inhumane conditions.
These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event.
A Brief History of National Nurses Week
Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a
proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a “Nurse Day” in October of the following year.
The proclamation was never made.
“National Nurse Week” was observed from Oct 11-16 in observance of Flo’s mission to Crimea.. Representative
Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. Apparently, a bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in 1955 in Congress but no action was taken.
In February of 1974, a week was designated by the White House as National Nurse Week
In February, the ANA Board
ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as “National Nurses Day.”
The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as a National Day for Nurses.
The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week long celebration declaring May 6 12, 1991 Nurses Week.
So you have a lot of time to say thank you to a nurse that you know and perhaps give them a wonderful gift.
Things nurses like:
Tropical Week long vacations with room service.
Don’t get us new scrubs, Blood pressure cuffs or stethoscopes. We buy that stuff. It’s a tax write off.
Home Health nurses I think would appreciate someone cleaning their cars.
I’d like to wish my fellow nurses a Happy Nurses Day! All these folks are very dedicated doing great work to keep our clients and patients healthy. I’m a blessed to work beside all of you.
Here’s to another great year of good compassionate nursing and great outcomes.
Keep on dancing!