It’s National Nurses Week!!! As we take the time to recognize all that nurses do every day, it is equally as important to take a look back at the history of National Nurses Week and where it all began.
National Nurses Week ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of the St. Thomas Hospital Nursing School in London. This hospital was the first secular nursing school in the world.
During the Crimean War, Nightingale, along with 38 nurses, which she had trained, arrived to care for wounded soldiers. Despite a short supply of medicine, neglected hygiene, and mass infections, Nightingale cared for as many as she could. Florence Nightingale was given the nickname “The Lady with the Lamp” because she was often observed alone in the dark, lamp in hand, making rounds to administer care to soldiers.
Nightingale wrote Notes on Nursing which was published in 1859. The book served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School, as well as other nursing schools. Florence Nightingale set an example of compassion and commitment to patients, and as a result, she founded the modern nursing profession.
President Richard M. Nixon designated National Nurses Week in February 1974 and issued a proclamation. Later, the American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors officially recognized May 6th as “National Nurses Day,” and finally in 1991, the day became a week long celebration.
The ANA stated May 6th through May 12th to be the permanent observance dates of National Nurses Week. National Nurses Week is an excellent opportunity to remember how much nurses do throughout communities and thank a nurse for the impact they make on people’s lives. This week honors the individuals that are known as the heart of healthcare, and HealthCare Scouts thanks you!