Happy National Nurses Week!
When we talk about healthcare’s heroes, nurses are among the first people who spring to mind. They blend compassion and nurturing seamlessly with expertise and professionalism.
Let’s learn more about National Nurses Day and its history. Then we’ll show you some freebies and special offers just for healthcare heroes.
When Is National Nurses Day?
National Nurses Day happens every year on May 6 as part of National Nurses Week, which begins May 6 and wraps up May 12.
It’s no coincidence that National Nurses Week draws to a close on the birthday of history’s most recognized nurse, Florence Nightingale. Her views on hygiene and her efforts to reform healthcare helped shape the future of not only nursing but medicine in general during the 19th and 20th centuries.
5 Fascinating Facts About Florence Nightingale
There’s a reason National Nurses Week ends on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. During the Crimean War, she found the conditions under which surgeons cared for wounded soldiers so filthy and crowded that she labeled it “The Kingdom of Hell.”
Nightingale was not given a warm welcome by the doctors and surgeons when she arrived in Turkey leading a party of 38 nurses. Undaunted, she quickly upgraded sanitation and basic hygiene procedures and established standards of patient care that included regular bathing, clean clothing, and fresh dressings. She understood the importance of mental wellness, too, and made sure patients had the opportunity to write letters to their families and participate in educational and recreational activities.
Nightingale was a quiet woman who shunned the spotlight. Nevertheless, press accounts of her bravery and tireless efforts, as well as soldiers’ letters home recounting her heroism, brought her respect and fame.
Here are a few more interesting facts about the medical profession’s most celebrated nurse.
- Florence Nightingale was named after her birthplace. She was born in Florence, Italy on May 12, 1820.
- She became known as “the Lady with the Lamp.” Nightingale made rounds by lamplight as she tended British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War.
- She established the first nursing school that was scientifically based. The Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London opened its doors in 1860.
- Beyond English, she spoke five additional languages. Nightingale was deeply intellectual and could read and write French, German, Greek, Italian, and Latin from a young age.
- Her family was unhappy with her decision to follow nursing. They viewed it as a lowly profession unsuitable for a woman from an affluent family.
Why Do We Celebrate National Nurses Day?
National Nurses Day (a part of National Nurses Week) is a time to recognize the invaluable contributions nursing professionals make to healthcare. Although they make up about half of the healthcare force, they deliver 80% of the patient care.
Nurses not only care for and treat the sick, injured, or dying, but they’re also fierce patient advocates. They administer medications, treat patients after their initial diagnosis, assist in surgery, help to detect illnesses, and provide information and emotional support for patients and their families.
When Was National Nurses Day Created?
In 1953 Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a national nurse day, but the proclamation never came. Unofficially, a week to honor nurses was first observed in the US in October 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s work during the Crimean War.
It took 20 years before President Nixon issued a proclamation designating a week in May as National Nurse Week. Later, President Reagan responded to a request from the American Nurses Association (ANA) and proclaimed a National Day for Recognition of Nurses to be celebrated on May 6 each year.
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