Celebrating Nurses on National Nurses Week and Beyond

Posted by Alyssa Kotzmann
On May 9, 2024
In Blog

Annually the nation recognizes nurses and the profession of nursing. This recognition started in 1974 when then President Richard Nixon proclaimed a “National Nurses Week”. Seven years later (1981), nurses in the state of New Mexico initiated a resolution to have May 6th declared as “National Recognition Day for Nurses”. The American Nurses Association (ANA) endorsed this proposal and so it remains to this day that National Nurses Week begins on May 6th and ends on May 12th. 

Around the world, May 12th is observed as “International Nurses Day” and honors the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale is credited with being the founder of modern nursing practice and sometimes referred to as the “Mother of Nursing”.  Her influence on the development and practice of nursing is legendary.  

Following her well-known contributions to the care of soldiers during the Crimean War (1854-1856), she established the first school of nursing in the world in 1860. Her book, Notes on Nursing, which was published in 1859 is standard reading for most nursing students. These notes chronicle her time in Crimea and outline concepts that remain fundamental to the practice of nursing today. 

Later in life, Nightingale promoted the concept of nurses as a professional, educated workforce of caregivers for the sick. In 1893, Nightingale wrote that “Training is to teach the nurse to help the patient to live. Nursing the sick is an art, and an art requiring an organized, practical, and scientific training, for nursing is the skilled servant of medicine, surgery, and hygiene.” 

The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is: “Nurses Make the Difference”. Its aim is to encourage nurses, healthcare professionals, employers, community leaders, and the public to recognize and promote the vast contributions and positive impact of nurses worldwide. 

Is there a nurse in your life that you would like to recognize during this week? Are you interested in supporting nursing education? The Alliance for Health Equity helps to support the training of nurses through its scholarship program. You can learn more about these scholarships on AHE’s website: www.alliancehealthequity.org   


Lesser-known facts about nursing: 

  • Nursing’s colors: blue and green 
  • Flower symbolizing nursing: white rose 
  • Nurse’s prayer:  
  • “Almighty God, Divine Healer of all men (people) give me strength and courage in my profession. Grant my heart compassion and love. Grant my hands skill and tenderness. Grant my care knowledge and wisdom”.