International Nurses Day, also known as Nurses Day, is celebrated annually on May 12. It was created by the International Council of Nurses in 1974 who chose May 12 as the date of the celebration since it marks the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. It also marks the end of National Nurses Week, which begins on May 6 with National Nurses Day.
The History behind the day
The international Council of Nurses began celebrating International Nurses Day in 1965, but it wasn't until 1974 that the event caught public attention. In February 1974 President Nixon made an official proclamation where he announced the creation of National Nurse week. In his proclamation he said: "For their dedication and for their constantly expanding skills, which are doing so much to improve the health of America, nurses merit the highest measure of personal and professional regard."
After National Nurse week had been officially recognized, the international Council of Nurses made a similar proclamation with the formal creation of International Nurses Day.
How we celebrate
International Nurses Day is used to raise awareness and challenge political leaders to make positive changes that benefit both nurses and patients. In recent years the event has been highlighting in particular the pressures that nurses have been under over the last few years due to COVID-19, and the current demand there is to train and equip more nurses.
Every year there is a theme, and this year the theme for International Nurses Day 2022 is a response to COVID-19: 'Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health.' A focus will be on the global recovery from the pandemic, which will be discussed in a large webinar that will meet on the day with delegates from around the world.
Many hospitals will host parties to celebrate and thank their staff nurses for all they do, gifts might also be exchanged such as boxes of chocolates. Families of patients also use the opportunity to send gifts and cards as a thank you present to show their appreciation to the nursing profession.