Friday, May 6, 2011

National Nurses Day 2011

Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers. As nurses, we work in emergency rooms, school based clinics, and homeless shelters, to name a few. We have many roles – from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher – and serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety.

Nurses are a vital element to any hospital or healthcare facility. Without them, hospitals would not be able to run and patients would not be cared for properly. Today, we celebrate the contributions and commitments that nurses make each and every day.

In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to declare a National Nurses Day. Though the proclamation was never made, Nurses Day began to be observed the following year. In 1974, President Nixon proclaimed an official National Nurses Day. Activities that take place on National Nurses Day typically include banquets, recognition dinners, state and city proclamations, continuing education seminars, and other community events. If you know any nurses, thank them today for all of their hard work and assistance!

National Nurses Week is celebrated every year from May 6th – 12th (May 12th is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the forbearer of modern nursing). May 6th is National RN Recognition Day, May 8th is National Student Nurses Day, and May 12th is International Nurses Day and National School Nurse Day.

Visit to download a media kit for raising awareness of this event and of the value of the nursing profession in your community. Nurses are renowned for blending art with science. They must be dedicated individuals with a wide array of interests, strengths and passions as a result of the many ways nurses are called upon to serve. No matter where they serve — emergency rooms, school based clinics, and homeless shelters – they are expected to bring to each role a passion for the profession and a strong commitment to patient safety. Their strength and spirit allows them to meet the needs of every person with whom they come into contact.

Due to poor working conditions, long hours, reduced pay and increased duty demands, there is an ongoing nursing shortage across the industry. With nurses retiring and changing professions in large numbers, it is crucial to start spreading the word of the important need nurses fill in the health care equation. Reaching out to primary and secondary academic institutions and training students to consider nursing as a future career goal may help funnel talent back into the pool. Also, making nursing school more attainable by providing scholarships and daycare for single mothers might draw people who are interested in nursing into the profession. If you are a nurse, consider making time to appear at community functions such as Town Councils and raise awareness of the difficult and sometimes dangerous work load nurses are expected to fill. Identify areas that community leaders can get involved in solving the problems.

I am so proud of my wife Pat who is a nurse in the field of outpatient care.  I am grateful that she shows the same care and compassion to me as she does to her patients.


  1. Thanks for the recognition, Nursing is a very tough job! School is difficult enough, not to mention all the testing required to get liscensed, but the real work takes place once you are out in the field. You have to work long hours, most of the time 12 hour shifts. We work nights, weekends, holidays, the hospital never closes! We spend time away from our families and loved ones caring for those in need.
    I just lost 2 friends. One lady I worked with 15 years ago at home health, she was 77 and still going strong. The other was a lady I went to nursing school with, she was 51 when she started. One's service is today, the other is tomorrow. These were amazing women and nurses. How fitting that they should be called home during the time to recognize nurses.

  2. I will never forget the kindness of the nurses durning my husband's many hospital stays. My hat is off to them for a job well done.