History of National Nurses Day
National Nurses Day is a day that is set aside each year to show appreciation for nurses and the impact that their profession has. National Nurses Day occurs on May 6 of each year and marks the first day of National Nurse Week, which is May 6-12 of each year.
The idea of National Nurses Day has its origins in 1953, when Dorothy Sutherland, an employee of the United States Department of Health, sent a proposal to President Eisenhower, requesting that a national day be set aside to recognize nurses. While President Eisenhower never issued a proclamation, this letter started the concept of a national day for recognizing the nursing profession.
The following year, the first National Nurse Week was observed from October 11-16 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. While National Nurse Week was first observed in 1954 by the public, it did not gain any official recognition by the US government until 1974.
In 1982 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation, declaring “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982. National Nurses Day has been recognized on May 6th of each year since that time.
The Impact of Nursing
Since Florence Nightingale started providing care to British soldiers in Crimea in 1854, nursing has grown into a profession that impacts the lives of patients around the world each day.
The profession of nursing is dedicated to promoting the health, comfort, and wellbeing of the patients that nurses serve. The profession of nursing is defined by a specific scope of practice that influences how nurses care for their patients and promote their optimal health.
The impact of nurses is more prevalent today than it has ever been. With the global pandemic affecting the lives of people around the world, nurses are a central part of the on-the-ground response. In the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the areas that it affected the most, nurses provided care to the sickest of these patients in conditions that they had never seen before.
While nurses do provide complicated treatments and apply their knowledge to preserve life, the greatest impact that nurses have, whether there is a pandemic or not, is the care that they show for their patients. Caring is the foundation of the nursing profession and is the most important part of what nurses do.
While the tasks that nurses perform are important, their caring attitude and the heart behind the medical care they perform is what truly distinguishes nursing and makes it one of the most appreciated professions in the United States.
While National Nurses Day is an important day to recognize the contributions of nurses’ roles in the medical field, it also has a deeper meaning. National Nurses Day is ultimately a celebration of the caring and selfless attitude that drives the nursing profession and the people that have dedicated their lives to it.
**Editor’s Note: Thank you to all nurses for the hard work you do! If you are looking for a job in nursing, consider browsing available positions here.**