As we continue to live in this COVID-19 altered world, we are taking time to honor and recognize our nurses on National Nurses Day Wednesday May 6th. A brief history of the beginning of National Nurses Day. It was officially recognized by the US Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. Although that is the official “beginning” of National Nurses Day in the US, it took many years to get that official designation.
National Nurses Day was actually the brainchild of Dorothy Sutherland, an employee of the U.S. Department of Health. She sent a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 proposing for a National Nurses Day. Although an official proclamation was not made, people began celebrating National Nurses Week on their own the very next year.
It took another 20 years to have any official designation as President Nixon proclaimed Nation Nurses Week beginning in 1974. Then in 1981, New Mexico nurses initiated a resolution to declare May 6th National Recognition Day for Nurses. The American Nurses Association (ANA) Board of Directors then began to promote the proposal. Then finally signed in 1982. That is not the end of the fight to recognize our nurses.
In 1990, the ANA Board of Directors expanded to a weeklong celebration of nurses called National Nurses Week (May 6th-May 12th).
May 12th is an incredibly significant date as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. 2020 marks 200th Anniversary of her birth. Each year the ANA selects a theme that acknowledges the many services that nurses provide each day. The 2020 theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead!
So here is a big Thank You to all nurses out there!
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