Annually, from May 6th to May 12th, the United States has dedicated this week as National Nurses Week. Every Wednesday that falls within this week has been dedicated as the official National Nurses Day. National Nurses Week is important to recognize the nursing profession. The nursing profession has been part of the American Nurses Association since 1896, offering a rewarding and stable career. This week is spent recognizing and appreciating all those that contribute to the nursing profession.
The History of National Nurses Week
In 1953, a proposal was sent to President Eisenhower by Dorothy Sutherland to proclaim an official “Nurse Day” in October of the following year. Despite Dorothy Sutherland working for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, President Eisenhower never acknowledged the proclamation.
In 1954, Frances P. Bolton sponsored an official nurses week, which was observed that year from October 11th to the 16th. The bill for an official “National Nurses Week” was introduced into congress but no action was ever taken.
Another proclamation was made to the President by the House of Representatives in 1972. This time the idea was presented as “National Registered Nurse Day.” However, once again the idea wasn’t supported and the results weren’t positive.
Progress was made in 1974 when the International Council of Nurses officially proclaimed the birthday of Florence Nightingale (May 12th) as “International Nurse Day.” To this day “International Nurse Day” is still celebrated. In February of 1974 the White House also claimed this time as “National Nurses Week.” President Nixon signed the proclamation.
May 6th became “National Nurses Day” in 1978 after the Governor of New Jersey, Brendon Byrne, took it upon himself to make this day a day of recognition within New Jersey. In the years to follow, other states began to establish similar days of recognition for Nurses.
In 1990, the American Nurses Associated claimed “National Nurses Week.” This event expanded from just one day to a week long event to pay tribute to the nursing profession. In 1993, the American Nurses Association officially claimed the dates of May 6th to May 12th as the permanent days for “National Nurses Week.”
As of 1997, the American Nurses Association has requested May 8th to be celebrated as the “National Student Nurses Day” in honor of all student nurses coming into the profession.
It has been a long struggle for this day of recognition to come about. Now that is has, it’s important we take this time to acknowledge the thousands of nurse in the heath care profession. The heath care industry would be no where with out the assistance and handwork of the nurses in the United States.
“National Nurses Week History” Nursing World
“National Nurses Day” Holiday Insights