Nurses Week ends on Nightingale's birthday
Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2007
National Nurses Day recognizes the contributions and commitment nurses make to quality health care in America.
It celebrates the 2.7 million licensed registered nurses (RNs) in the United States; approximately 2.2 million of them are employed as RNs.
In addition, 700,000 licensed practical nurses (LPNs), 600,000 Home Health Aides, and 1.4 million nurses' aides comprise the field of nursing.
In 1953 an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare proposed that then-President Eisenhower proclaim a “Nurses Day,” although he did not sign it. Other attempts at establishing a day recognizing nurses were not successful, however President Nixon proclaimed a National Nurse Week in 1974.
In 1982, a joint congressional resolution designated May 6 as National Recognition Day for Nurses. In 1991, the celebration was expanded to National Nurses Week to accommodate the varied schedules of America's nurses.
National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday.
These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event. As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week (May 6-12) each year.
The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association since 1896. Each of ANA's state and territorial nurses associations promotes the nursing profession at the state and regional levels. Each conducts celebrations on these dates to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community.
The ANA supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through the state and district nurses associations, other specialty nursing organizations, educational facilities, and independent health care companies and institutions.
Activities during National Nurses Week typically include banquets and recognition dinners, picnics, state and city proclamations, continuing education seminars, and community events.
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