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Seasoned with Sage
National Nurses Week

Every year on May 6th we kick off National Nurses Week. Then we wrap it up on May 12th, which happens to be the birthday of Florence Nightingale. This event has been created and put into place to recognize nurses from the past, present, and future, as great contributors to society and humanity overall. May 8th, 1998, was designated to be National Student Nurses Day. Since 2003, we now celebrate what is called 'National School Nurse Day' on the Wednesday that falls within our currently recognized National Nurses week every year.

The ANA (American Nurses Association) has been promoting and supporting the nursing profession since 1896. They encourage programs that recognize National Nurses Week, and all things involved with bringing attention to these pillars of society. It was back in 1953 that Dorothy Sutherland (from the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, & Welfare), took it upon herself to send out a proposal to then President Eisenhower, proclaiming 'Nurse Day' in the October of the year following. However, nothing ever came of it, at least not right away.
It was the next year, 1954, when National Nurses Week was finally observed. It ran from October 11th through the 16th. This marked the 100th anniversary of the Crimean mission of Florence Nightingale. The bill to have a Nurse's week was sponsored by Representative Frances P. Bolton.

Congress entertained a bill in 1955 concerning a National Nurses Week, but again, nothing came of it. Then again, in 1972, a resolution made its way into the House of Representatives, and again nothing came of it. It was in January of 1974 when the ICN (International Council of Nurses) proclaimed that May 12th (Florence Nightingale's birthday) would indeed be 'International Nurse Day'. The following month, February of 1974, the White House finally designated a full week as being 'National Nurse Week', and that proclamation was issued by President Richard Nixon.

Why We Recognize And Celebrate Nurses

Every day on this earth, there are dedicated citizens, stepping forward to help others. They embrace and study new technologies to improve their service, they handle emergencies, they ease the pain of suffering all over this world. They are the backbone of the health care industry. Many view them just as they would Florence Nightingale, as heroes.

National Nurse Week is a way of letting them know how proud and honored we are to have them, and how much we deeply appreciate their service. Nurses today do far more than just check blood pressure and take temperatures, they multi-task in many areas, freeing up our doctors to focus on their patients and the work of doctors. Because of nurses, doctors are able to see and treat more patients. And their compassion and understanding helps patients to get through difficult times.

Activities During National Nurses Week

During National Nurses Week there are banquets, dinners, and parties held in recognition of our patriots. There are city and state celebrations and proclamations, community events, and even some continuing education seminars. Aside from dinners, there are nurses being honored with gifts or bonuses for their hard work and dedication. They hear from doctors, administrators, loved ones, and patients alike, who want to show their appreciation.

On National Nurses Day, May 12th, which is celebrated all across the globe, the ICN (International Council of Nurses) produces and distributes their 'International Nurse's Day kit. The kit is comprised of public information and educational type materials that nurses everywhere can use. This day has been honored by the ICN since back in 1965.

If you would like to learn more about National Nurse Week and get a better understanding of what it’s all about, then visit for more nursing resources.

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