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National Nurses Week 2024

Once a year in May, National Nurses Week is celebrated worldwide. It recognizes these medical professionals and the incredible work they do for others in the healthcare industry. This recognition can help revitalize a nurse’s commitment to his or her profession, as well as deepen one’s loyalty to a team and employer.

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5 Nurses Week Celebration Ideas

Check out our eBook, 5 Nurses Week Celebration Ideas, for some quick tips and suggestions for planning a fun and engaging week.

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What is National Nurses Week?

Nurse day concept. Man hands holding lightbox with Thank heroes text thanking doctors, nurses, and medical staff working in hospitals during coronavirus COVID-19 pandemics. View through window glass

National Nurses Week is an event that honors the contributions and sacrifices of nurses in the healthcare industry. Whether in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, hospice facilities, or private homes, nurses provide a high level of care to their patients. National Nurses Week lets people show gratitude and appreciation toward these dedicated medical professionals.

Nurses Week was created by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as early as 1953 and has been celebrated regularly since 1965. The event is observed across the globe, with different regions celebrating in unique ways. For example, in the UK, an annual service is held at Westminster Abbey with a symbolic “passing of the lamp” ceremony.

Moreover, Australia has a Nurse of the Year award ceremony and distributes several other awards throughout the week. The U.S. and Canada also observe RN Recognition Day, which falls on May 6.

When Is National Nurses Week

This celebratory week is observed from May 6 to 12. The 12th is significant as it marks Florence Nightingale’s birthday. An English social reformer, Nightingale was considered the founder of modern nursing. This is because she served as a manager and trainer of battlefield nurses during the Crimean War. Due to her knowledge and skill, she drastically reduced infections and deaths. Nightingale essentially turned nursing into a profession.

The first Nurses Week in the U.S. was held in 1954 from October 11 to 16 to honor the 100th anniversary of her fateful mission. President Nixon declared it National Nurses Week in 1974.  Furthermore, the American Nurses Association (ANA) expanded the holiday in 1990 to include the familiar May 6 – 12 week of Nightingale’s birthday. Since then, National Nurses Week is acknowledged as a symbol of her legacy and the immeasurable impact nurses can have on society.

Why Is This Event Important?

Nurses are in high demand, and for good reason. They provide care, support, and treatment to patients and are seen as the backbone of the U.S. healthcare industry. Without them, there would be no one to assist in surgeries, administer medicines, treat patients, and more. These medical professionals play a crucial role in society.

Moreover, with the complexity of the healthcare challenges the world is now facing, nurses are once again proving their indispensable role in our daily lives. National Nurses Week lets people show their support and gratitude toward these hard-working medical professionals worldwide.

Appreciation Ideas for National Nurses Week

Grateful senior female patient giving a gift to her female doctor

Nurses want to feel appreciated and valued for their hard work. After all, they work tirelessly to keep their communities safe and healthy. During this celebratory week, you can show appreciation to nurses in the following ways:

  • Write a sincere handwritten card thanking a nurse for his or her service
  • Send branded gift packages
  • Give a genuine compliment
  • Send flowers to a nursing staff
  • Give a gift card with a note
  • Celebrate on social media
  • Say “thank you” with delicious treats
  • Provide special meals

Additional Resources

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