A Brief History of National Nurses Week

HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on May 1, 2017 9:57:29 AM

History of Nurses Week

Every May, we celebrate the importance of the passionate, skillful people who selflessly dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others: Nurses. With National Nurses Week starting this upcoming Saturday, we’d like to take a look back at the history of the holiday.

  • The first National Nurses Week was observed in October 1954 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s Mission to Crimea. However, National Nurses Week would not be recognized as an annual celebration until nearly 40 years later.
  • In January 1974, the International Council of Nurses declared that May 12 would be known as International Nurse Day. The date was selected in honor of Florence Nightingale, whose birthday falls on May 12.
  • Also in 1974, President Richard Nixon proclaimed a week in February as National Nurse Week.
  • From 1978 to 1981, officials in states like New Jersey and New Mexico pushed to have May 6 be formally recognized as an appreciation day for nurses in their respective states.
  • The ANA first acknowledged National Nurses Day on May 6, 1982. President Ronald Reagan also proclaimed the day as National Recognition Day for Nurses.
  • By 1991, the ANA expanded the nursing appreciation celebration to May 6 through May 12, creating National Nurses Week as we know it today. The week became an annual celebration starting in 1994.

For more detailed information, visit ANA's National Nurses Week History

Check back on Friday, May 5 as we celebrate the eve of National Nurses Week with advice from our Clinical Operations nurses about staying healthy during your shifts.

Topics: Healthcare, Nursing, Nurses Week


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