National Nurse's Day
May 6, 2023
National Nurse's Week
May 6 - 12, 2004

The important role nurses play in the delivery of health care cannot be overestimated. Our facilities rely on their training, experience and caring nature every day. Nurses Week provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the spirit of nursing and acknowledge the tireless efforts of these vital health professionals. 

Nurses Week is one of the nation's largest health care events, recognizing nurses from coast to coast and educating the public about the significant work they perform. 

History of National Nurses Week

"Nurses: Lifting Spirits, Touching Lives" is this year's theme for National Nurses Week, celebrated May 6-12 each year. National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday. These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event. As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually, as well. Starting in 2003, National School Nurse Day will be celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week (May 6-12) each year. Previously, the fourth Wednesday in January had been set aside for the recognition of school nurses by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). 

The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1897. Each of ANA's state and territorial nurses associations promotes the nursing profession at the state and regional levels. Each conducts celebrations on these dates to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community. 

The ANA supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through the state and district nurses associations, other specialty nursing organizations, educational facilities, and independent health care companies and institutions. 

A brief history of National Nurses Week

1953 Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a "Nurse Day" in October of the following year. The proclamation was never made. 

1954 National Nurse Week was observed from October 11 - 16. The year of the observance marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. Apparently, a bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in the 1955 Congress, but no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds. 

1972 Again a resolution was presented by the House of Representatives for the President to proclaim "National Registered Nurse Day." It did not occur. 

1974 In January of that year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed that May 12 would be "International Nurse Day." (May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.) Since 1965, the ICN has celebrated "International Nurse Day." 

1974 In February of that year, a week was designated by the White House as National Nurse Week, and President Nixon issued a proclamation. 

1978 New Jersey Governor Brendon Byrne declared May 6 as "Nurses Day." Edward Scanlan, of Red Bank, N.J., took up the cause to perpetuate the recognition of nurses in his state. Mr. Scanlan had this date listed in Chase's Calendar of Annual Events. He promoted the celebration on his own. 

1981 ANA, along with various nursing organizations, rallied to support a resolution initiated by nurses in New Mexico, through their Congressman, Manuel Lujan, to have May 6, 1982, established as "National Recognition Day for Nurses." 

1982 In February, the ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 2023 as "National Nurses Day." The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as "National Recognition Day for Nurses." 

1982 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25, proclaiming "National Recognition Day for Nurses" to be May 6, 1982. 

1990 The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6 - 12, 1991, as National Nurses Week. 

1993 The ANA Board of Directors designated May 6 - 12 as permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week in 1994 and in all subsequent years. 

1996 The ANA initiated "National RN Recognition Day" on May 6, 1996, to honor the nation's indispensable registered nurses for their tireless commitment 365 days a year. The ANA encourages its state and territorial nurses associations and other organizations to acknowledge May 6, 2023 as "National RN Recognition Day." 

1997 The ANA Board of Directors, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, designated May 8 as National Student Nurses Day.

Did you know...?

There are nearly 2.7 million registered nurses in the United States. And, 2.2 million of them are actively employed. 

National Nurses Week has a distinctive history. 

The American Nurses Association was founded in 1896 

Isabel Adams Hampton Robb was the first president of the American Nurses Association 

As of November 2001, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than one million new nurses will be needed by the year 2010. The report projects that total employment will increase by 22.2 million jobs during the 2000-2010 period, rising to 167.8 million. Health care practitioners and technical occupations are expected to account for 1.6 million new jobs during that period. Registered nurses, which represent the largest occupation in this group, should account for more than a third of those new jobs. 

The nation's registered nurse (RN) workforce is aging significantly and the number of full-time equivalent RNs per capita is forecast to peak around the year 2007 and decline steadily thereafter, according to Peter Buerhaus of Vanderbilt University's nursing school. Buerhaus also predicted that the number of RNs would fall 20 percent below the demand by 2010. (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 14, 2022) 

There are over 196,000 advanced practice nurses in the United States. Of these, approximately 88,100 are nurse practitioners, 54,300 are clinical nurse specialists, 14,600 are both nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, 9,200 are nurse midwives, and 29,800 are nurse anesthetists. 

Research indicates that advanced practice nurses can provide 60 to 80 percent of primary care services as well as or better than physicians and at a lesser cost. 

49 states and the District of Columbia allow advanced practice nurses to prescribe medications. 

The January 5, 2000, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported the results of a study which revealed patients fared just as well when treated by nurse practitioners as they did when treated by physicians. 

The nation's nurses rank second for their honesty and integrity, with 84 percent of Americans rating them "high" or "very high," according to a 2001 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Firefighters, who were given high ratings by 90 percent of Americans, displaced nurses from the poll's top slot this year, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses had previously rated first for two years in a row after being added to the list in 1999. 

According to a 1989 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine(325 (25), 1720-1725), hospitals with more registered nurses on staff and higher ratios of nurses to patients had 6.3 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients than hospitals that did not have those characteristics. 

The American Nurses Association consists of 54 state and territorial associations, whose mission is to work for the improvement of health standards and availability of health care services for all people, foster high standards for nursing, stimulate and promote the professional development of registered nurses, and advance their economic and general welfare. 

The link between adequate and appropriate nurse staffing and positive patient outcomes has been shown in several ANA publications and studies, including ANA's Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes in Inpatient Hospital Settings. This report, published in May 2000, found that shorter lengths of stay are strongly related to higher RN staffing per acuity-adjusted day and that patient morbidity indicators for preventable conditions are inversely related to RN skill mix. 

A January 2001 ANA Staffing Survey revealed that America's RNs feel that deteriorating working conditions have led to a decline in the quality of nursing care. Specifically, 75 percent of nurses surveyed felt the quality of nursing care at the facility in which they work has declined over the past two years, while 56 percent of nurses surveyed believe that the time they have available for patient care has decreased. In addition, over 40 percent said they would not feel comfortable having a family member or someone close to them be cared for in the facility in which they work, and over 54 percent would not recommend the profession to their children or their friends. These statistics reveal a disturbing trend. 

America's registered nurses report that health and safety concerns play a major role in their decisions to remain in the profession, according to findings from a Health and Safety Survey released in September 2001. In the survey, over 70 percent (70.5 percent) of nurses cited the acute and chronic effects of stress and overwork as one of their top three health and safety concerns. Yet nurses continue to be pushed harder -- with more than two-thirds reporting that they work some type of unplanned overtime every month. 

The American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Program offers guidelines designed to shift hospital administrators' focus from expensive, short-sighted recruitment efforts to meaningful retention strategies. Hospitals that have been designated as "magnets" have been found in studies to attract and retain professional nurses who experienced a high degree of professional and personal satisfaction through their practice. Currently, 42 hospitals and long-term care facilities have been awarded "magnet" recognition, but the essential "magnet" criteria can be used by nurses and administrators to assess their own facilities for improvements. 

A study conducted by the Nursing Credentialing Research Coalition found that certification has a dramatic impact on the personal, professional and practice outcomes of certified nurses. Overall, nurses in the study stated that certification enabled them to experience fewer adverse events and errors in patient care than before they were certified. Additional results revealed that certified nurses: 

  • expressed more confidence in detecting early signs of complications; 
  • reported more personal growth and job satisfaction; 
  • believed they were viewed as credible providers; 
  • received high patient satisfaction ratings; 
  • reported more effective communication and collaboration with other health care providers; and 
  • experienced fewer disciplinary events and work-related injuries.
The Florence Nightingale Pledge
I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

This modified Hippocratic Oath was arranged by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses, Detroit. It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.

I received this from a friend:

~Nurses Prayer~
Dear Lord, please give me the strength to face the day ahead.
Dear Lord, please give me courage as I approach each hurting bed.
Please give me wisdom with every word I speak, and patience as I comfort the sick.
Dear Lord. please give me assurance as the day slips into night,
That I have done the best I can and that I have done right!

Happy Nurses Day
to all you nurses out there.