Although, in my opinion, nurses should be celebrated every day—there’s a week exclusively dedicated annually to celebrating the fine men and women in the field. Every year from May 6th-May 12th, we nationally recognize the benevolence and invaluable work efforts of the awesome people that serve to take care of the sick and injured while promoting positive messages of overall health and well-being. Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12th, is always the final day for National Nurses Weeks. As National Nurses Week 2015 draws to an end, I have to start to feel as if a measly 7 days out of the year to showcase the skills and care of the amazing individuals in the healthcare field is just now enough. I mean, if we didn’t have nurses, where would we all be? DEAD. Okay, well maybe not all of us…but, hey, things would be pretty darn bad!
A history of National Nurses Week:
In 1953, a woman named Dorothy Sutherland proposed to President Eisenhower that a “Nurse Day” be celebrated the following year. Although the proclamation was never made, 1954 had a “National Nurse Week” October 11-16, 1954 to observe the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission. A bill was even brought to congress to make “National Nurses Week”in 1955 by Frances P. Bolton. However, that never occurred.
In 1972, another attempt at making a “National Registered Nurse Day” was brought to the House of Representatives. This too, did not happen. However, 2 years later, in 1974, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) named May 12th as “International Nurse Day.” A month later, President Nixon proclaimed that National Nurse Week were to be held that year. Ronald Reagan called May 6 to be “National Recognition Day for Nurses” in 1982, the American Nursing Association (ANA) expanded that day to an entire week in 1990, and in 1993 the permanent dates of May 6-12 were given to start in 1994 and the subsequent years since.
2015’s National Nurses Week:
The theme of this year’s National Nurses Week was “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” Nursing isn’t just a job—-it’s a life-altering calling. There’s nothing more valuable to this year of celebrating “rights, health, and safety of nurses and patients,” according to the ANA.
How did we celebrate National Nurses Week 2015?
- United Hospital Center had a week long staff celebration with snacks, gift cards, luncheons, activities, a carnival-themed day and more.
- Nurses “freebies” happened nationwide. Cool Beans coffee shop gave nurses free coffee, Larkburger gave them free small burgers, and Cinnabon gave out their yummy rolls. Retailers like “Johnson & Johnson” offers nurses free items like posters & podcasts and New York & Co. let RNs get 30% of their purchase.
- Central Texas College Department of Nursing sponsored a luncheon to recognize its nursing faculty.
- Gwinnett Medical Center recognized workers in their facilities with a spiritual Blessing of the Hands Ritual.
Although tomorrow is the last day of this year’s week of nurse recognition, that doesn’t mean the celebration needs to stop there. No matter what time of year it is, always be sure to thank your nurse for all that they do to take care of you. Let’s start making a change to make every single day feel like National Nurse’s Day, every week feel like OUR week, and quite honestly—every week should be national nurses week .