National Nurses Week: An Overview


Happy first day of Nurses Week! In line with our “Put Your Best Scrubs Forward” Facebook photo competition, we’d like to discuss what Nurses Week is really all about! Here’s an overview of everything you should know about National Nurses Week.

The History of Nurses Week

by Henry Hering, copied by Elliott & Fry, half-plate glass copy negative, 1858 (1950s)

by Henry Hering 1858

Nurses week spans the week of May 6 through May 12 each year, ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Florence Nightingale, or “the Lady with the Lamp”, is considered to be the founder of modern day nursing. Nightingale is best known for her work to improve sanitary conditions in the Crimean War, decreasing the death toll by outstanding numbers.

Soldiers at a war hospital where Nightingale was caring for the injured and infirm coined the name “the Lady with the Lamp”, because she continued working all through the night, checking on each patient while carrying a lamp to light her way.

Nightingale documented her experiences in the Crimean War in a report titled “Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency and Hospital Administration of the British Arm”, in which she analyzed health issues in hospitals and suggested reforms.

While we now celebrate National Nurses week on Nightingale’s birthday, the first Nurses Week took place in October, 1954 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of her work in the Crimean War.

Nurses Week Today

NW16_poster_600Today, we celebrate nurses for an entire week in the month of May, and even on certain specialties on different days. The Wednesday of this week is dedicated to school nurses, while May 8th recognizes nursing students.

Nurses Week 2016 is focused around the promotion of creating a culture of safety for nurses. The American Nurses Association suggests that a safe culture is one where we encourage safety above all other goals. Within this campaign, the ANA hopes to promote core ideals, such as a safe level of staffing, openness when discuss safety concerns, as well as transparency and accountability.

Over the past few months, ANA has been offering free webinars on topics like PTSD from nursing, safe work environments, and even nurses burnout, in order to educate nurses on safety on the job.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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