The origins of Nurses Day and National Nurses Week
Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Nurses are now recognized as highly specialized professionals with a wide range of skills. Today, becoming a registered nurse requires four years of study and extreme focus and dedication. This versatile career with dozens of specialties is a crucial link between patients and doctors.
The advent of modern nursing is credited to Florence Nightingale, who laid the foundation for professional nursing through her tireless work during and after the Crimean War. As a nursing manager on the frontlines, Nightingale introduced hygiene protocols and other measures that drastically reduced infections and deaths in battlefield hospitals.
Today, Nurses work in a wide range of specialties and settings, from school nurses who administer vaccines to highly specialized oncology nurses who assist in life-saving treatment decisions.
To acknowledge the contributions of nurses and call attention to their working conditions, the International Council of Nurses established May 12 as International Nurses Day in 1974. The celebration was extended to a week a few years later, and National Nurses Week was officially born in 1994. Sponsored and promoted by the American Nurses Association, the week-long event highlights the crucial contributions that nurses make to the community.