The past few months continue to show us how critical nurses are to all of us! We thought we’d celebrate these often unsung heroes with a brief history of National Nurses Week – which kicks off today with National Nurses Day!
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.
1974 The International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed that May 12 would be “International Nurse Day.” (May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.)
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.