They are the medical professionals you see most often. They are exceptional people who provide essential care. And, across the decades, they are those who have carried the grit, the determination, the fearlessness and the commitment of Florence Nightingale – the founder of modern nursing.
Who Was Florence Nightingale?
Born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy, the city which inspired her name, Nightingale was part of an affluent British clan that belonged to elite social circles. Florence defied the “normal” expectations of women at the time – and against her parents’ wishes, pursued what she saw as her God-given calling of nursing.
During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital in Constantinople, greatly reducing the death count. Her writings sparked worldwide healthcare reform, and in 1860 she established St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses.
Nightingale’s training practices and her writings had a dramatic impact upon the work nurses do and the way in which they cared for patients. She inspired changes worldwide in healthcare practices, public sanitation, and even how modern hospitals should function. A revered international hero of her time, Nightingale died on August 13, 1910 in London.
May 6-12, 2021 is National Nurses Week • National Nurses Month is May 2021
To honor Florence Nightingale and the 100th anniversary of her mission to Crimea, and to recognize the dedication and service of nurses across the nation, National Nurses Week was first observed in the United States from October 11 to 16, 1954. President Nixon later proclaimed a “National Nurse Week” in 1974. In 1982, President Reagan signed a proposal officially designating May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses,” now known as National Nurses Day or National RN Recognition Day. In 1990, the American Nurses Association (ANA) expanded the holiday into the current National Nurses Week celebrated from May 6 to May 12.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the American Nurses Association (ANA) announced that National Nurses Week is now a month-long celebration (May 2021). It is more important than ever to support and recognize nursing professionals for the essential roles they play in their communities and the countless lives they touch every day. In addition, the ANA and the World Health Organization announced on their official sites that they have extended Year Of The Nurse into 2021.
Join us in sharing expressions of thanks to our own heroes of healthcare!