Nurses Week 2024

Nurse Week 2024, Day 1 – The History of Nurses Week

Saverio Curcio | 06 May 2024
4 minute read

“Remember my name, you’ll be screaming it later.” – Florence Nightingale

Nurses Week is an annual event that celebrates the contributions of nurses to healthcare in the United States. This week-long celebration has a rich history, dating back to the early days of nursing and the pioneering work of Florence Nightingale.

The Origins of Nurses Week

The origins of Nurses Week can be traced back to the 1950s, when Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, proposed the idea of a national Nurses Day. Although her proposal in 1953 did not immediately establish an official day, it planted the seed for future recognition. It wasn’t until 1974 that May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale—who is considered the founder of modern nursing—was chosen to mark International Nurses Day. This date later influenced the selection of May 6 to May 12 as the period for National Nurses Week in the United States, officially established in 1994 to honor the nursing profession and its contributions to healthcare. (For some more details about this piece of Nurses Week, check out the American Nurses Association’s website here.)

Florence Nightingale was born into an affluent British family in 1820. Despite the expectations of her family and society, she pursued a career in nursing, which was then considered a lowly and menial profession. During the Crimean War in the 1850s, Nightingale was asked to lead a team of nurses to care for wounded soldiers in the military hospital in Scutari, Turkey. Nightingale’s team of nurses provided care and comfort to soldiers in unsanitary conditions, often working long hours and enduring great hardship.

Nightingale became known as the “Lady with the Lamp” for her habit of making rounds at night to check on patients, and for her advocacy for improved sanitation and hygiene in hospitals. Her work during the war led to significant improvements in military healthcare and nursing, and helped to establish nursing as a respected profession.

The First Nurses Week

In 1954, the centennial of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea was commemorated with a week of observance from October 11th to 16th, acknowledging her pioneering contributions to modern nursing. However, it wasn’t until 1982 that a specific date gained official recognition: President Ronald Reagan declared May 6th as ‘National Recognition Day for Nurses.’ This acknowledgment was later extended to a full week, creating the annual celebration that we recognize today, spanning from May 6th to Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12th.

The first Nurses Week as we know it today was celebrated in 1990 after the American Nurses Association (ANA) supported the formal acknowledgment of the week-long observance. The ANA played a key role in organizing these celebrations, which have been held annually to honor and recognize the contributions of nurses. The ANA continues to be a driving force behind the event, ensuring that it remains a significant occasion each year.

Over the years, Nurses Week has grown in popularity and importance, with hospitals, clinics, and healthcare organizations across the country hosting events and activities to recognize and celebrate nurses. The theme of Nurses Week changes each year, reflecting the changing needs and challenges of the nursing profession. This evolution demonstrates the ongoing relevance and critical role of nurses in healthcare, marking Nurses Week as a time of appreciation and professional recognition.

Celebrating Nurses Week Today

Today, Nurses Week is an important event in the nursing profession, with millions of nurses across the country being recognized and appreciated for their hard work and dedication. During Nurses Week, healthcare organizations often hold events and activities to recognize nurses, such as award ceremonies, breakfasts or lunches, educational seminars, and special gifts or tokens of appreciation.

As the leader in Remote Care, Optimize Health knows that even if you have the best software or make the best product, the world would be nothing without nurses. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry, and their tireless efforts and dedication to patient care are truly admirable. So let us take this opportunity to thank and appreciate nurses for their invaluable contributions to healthcare, not just during Nurses Week, but every day of the year.

There’s even a few deals Nurses can utilize this week:

  • Burger Fi & Anthony’s Coal Fired PizzaAre offering a 20% discount on all orders (must have a valid ID at participating restaurants).
  • Dunkin’: Nurses can get a free medium hot or iced coffee on May 6th (no purchase necessary.)
  • Nurse Mates: Nurses can get 25% off full priced items with code “NURSE25” and ends 5/12/24
  • Align Shoe: Nurses can get 25% off full priced footwear with code “NURSE25” and ends 5/12/24

This blog post is the First in a series of articles that will be created for Nurses Week, as we take this opportunity to recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of nurses across the country. Stay tuned for more articles that highlight the importance of nursing, the challenges faced by nurses, and the ways in which we can all show our support for this vital profession.