From Humble Beginnings to National Celebration: The Origins of Nurses’ Week and Ways to Honor Nurses

Published: May 11, 2023
A Magnet Medical traveler smiling with a bouquet of flowers they received during Nurses Week in 2023.

Nurse’s week is an annual celebration from May 6th to May 12th, ending on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. This week-long event is an opportunity to recognize and honor the hard work and dedication of nurses who play a vital role in our healthcare system. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry, and their tireless efforts and commitment to patient care deserve to be celebrated. This week provides a chance to show appreciation for nurses’ significant contributions to our health and well-being.

The path toward establishing Nurse’s 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. However, he never made it.
  • 1954: National Nurse Week was observed from October 11th – 16th as the year marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for an official nurse week, and although Congress introduced a bill for a national nurse week in 1955, no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds.
  • 1972: A resolution was presented again by the House of Representatives for the President to proclaim “National Registered Nurse Day.” However, it did not occur.
  • 1974: The International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed that May 12th would be officially known as “International Nurse Day” because it is Nightingale’s birthday.
  • 1982: President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25th, finally proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6th.
  • 1990: The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6th – 12th as “National Nurses Week.”
  • 1993: The ANA Board of Directors designated May 6th – 12th as the permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week for all subsequent years.

National Nurses’ Week was established to show appreciation to nurses who make an unparalleled impact on the healthcare system and the lives of their patients. We depend on nurses to care for us in our most vulnerable moments, and they have been ranked as the most trusted profession by the Gallup Honesty and Ethics poll since 2002.

Are you a nurse looking to treat yourself during Nurse’s Week?

Enjoy some discounts and freebies!

General Goodies:

Register at ID Me for a great one-stop shop of a wide array of brands like Stanley, Thrive Market, and Moosejaw.

Workplace Garb:

Lumify: Use code NURSESWEEK2023 when you check out on Lumify Care May 6th– 12th, and you’ll get 20% off Lumify essentials, including scrub hats, tees, whiteboard reels, and more.

Pulse: Nurses can enjoy 20% off nursing apparel at Pulse Uniform. Plus, you’ll get a flat $4 shipping rate.

Under Armour: 40% off all purchases!

Figs: Score 25% off for new customers who order scrubs.

Crocs: Every year, Crocs gives away 50,000 pairs of Crocs at Work shoes to healthcare workers. You can sign up and verify your eligibility on the Crocs website. Apply for a chance to get a pair of Crocs every day between May 10th– 15th at noon ET.

You can also get 15% off Crocs when you verify your ID through SheerID.

Coffee and Treats:

Krispy Kreme: Krispy Kreme offers physicians, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, and other healthcare workers a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts for free every Monday through May 11th. Just go to the drive-thru and show your employee badge.

Dunkin’: On National Nurses Day (May 6) Dunkin’ is offering a free medium hot or iced coffee and a free donut – no purchase necessary – to all healthcare workers who visit participating Dunkin’ restaurants nationwide while supplies last. *

Chipotle: Every year, Chipotle Mexican Grill awards 2,000 medical professionals with free Chipotle for a year. Find out here how to get the prize.

Practice self-care

  • Get some well-deserved rest when you can
  • Try some new relaxation techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, or walks.
  • Engage in hobbies outside of work
  • Seek professional help when needed

Spread the love

Nurse’s Week is an excellent opportunity for nurses to come together and celebrate their hard work and dedication. Here are some ways nurses can show support for each other during Nurse’s Week:

  • Organize a potluck or other celebration: Nurses can organize a potluck or other celebration to show appreciation for each other’s hard work. This can be a fun way to bond and celebrate together.
  • Share positive feedback: Nurses can take the time to recognize each other’s accomplishments and provide positive feedback. This can include writing thank-you notes, sending emails of appreciation, or recognizing a colleague’s contributions during a meeting.

Magnet Medical is proud to honor travel nurses of the past, present, and future

Becoming a healthcare traveler is a big decision— and it’s not for everyone. We’re so proud of our travelers who work hard to care for others across the country. Take time today, this month, and every day after to remind yourself that you are doing a great job and we appreciate all that you do.

To learn more about how to become a Magnet Medical traveler, contact our team today!

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