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Happy National Nurses Week! This honorable tradition is celebrated worldwide from May 6-12 every year. Nurses are acknowledged for the vital role they play in healthcare and the contributions they have dedicated to our culture. So Quality Family Care has gathered information on the history of this world-wide celebrated tradition.


So, what is Nurses Week? When did it begin? What do you do to commemorate?


QFC will answer all these points and more as we take a much more in-depth look at Nurses Week.


Why We Pay Tribute to Nurses

The Frontier Nursing Service nurses travelling on horseback through the Appalachian Mountains. The Flying Nightingales maneuvering through enemy bullets onto the battleground. The Melbourne District Nursing Society nurses exhausting themselves on bicycles all over the city. The World Health Organization paratroop nurses parachuting down into hostile terrain. The Scotland Queen’s Rural District nurses traveling miles through the snowfall.


Flying Nightingales

Across history, nurses have shifted mountains (or passed over them) to get to people in need and carry or sometimes drag them back from death’s threshold. Nurses have performed a key role in caring for humanity- from warfare, illness, destitution, hunger.


And right now, they continuously do as they have consistently done- look after the ill, the wounded, the debilitated, those passing on.


National Nurses Week seeks to celebrate the men and women known as the heart and soul of healthcare.


The Early Stages of Nurses Week

It took many years of trying before National Nurses Week was forever established.


Dorothy Sutherland, US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare administrator prepared a proposition for International Nurses Day in 1953. It stopped instantly, declined by President Dwight Eisenhower.


In 1954, the country recognized October 11-16 as National Nurse Week- only for that year. It was the centennial commemoration of Florence Nightingale’s Crimea mission.


The subsequent year, a proposition was created to create National Nurse Week, to ensure that it could be recognized annually instead of just that one instance. The bill did not make it past Congress.


Seventeen years went by.


In 1972, the House of Representatives attempted once again. They made a proposal for National Registered Nurse Day. Once more, the President declined the proposition.


After two years, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) made a statement of their own. International Nurse Day, May 12, was set up in January 1974. The date was built upon Florence Nightingale’s birthday.


This roused things up in the White House.


In February 1974, just a month after the ICN’s statement, President Nixon made an announcement. They would honor National Nurse Week, only for that year.


Motivated by the movement, New Jersey Governor Brendon Byrne declared in 1978 that May 6 would be Nurses Day yearly. This appears to be the very first public record of a US government official setting up a long-term acknowledgment day for nurses. Edward Scanlan of Red Bank in New Jersey readily supported the cause, supporting it all over the state. He also had the date detailed in the Chase’s Calendar of Events, an extensive referral of worldwide celebrations.


Three years later, New Mexico nurses enacted a declaration via their Congressman Manuel Lujan to institute May 6, 1982 as National Recognition Day for Nurses. The American Nurses Association (ANA) joined powers with other nursing institutions to uphold the joint resolution.


In February 1982, the ANA officially declared May 6, 1982 as National Nurses Day.


This dream soon became a reality.


On March 25, 1982, President Ronald Reagan released a statement that National Recognition Day for Nurses would be May 6, 1982.


Eight years later.


In 1990, the ANA declared that they would prolong the nurses’ recognition day to a week the upcoming year.


National Nurses Week would be on May 6-12, 1991.


In 1993, the ANA announced that May 6-12 would forever be marked as National Nurses Week yearly, commencing from 1994 and beyond.


Therefore, the annual National Nurses Week birthed.


The ANA didn’t quit there. In 1996, the ANA assigned May 6, 1996 as National RN Recognition Day. And the subsequent year, the ANA founded May 8 as National Student Nurses Day.


After numerous years of failed efforts, National Nurses Week is now a yearly commemoration worldwide. On that day, the UK has a service in Westminster Abbey with a symbolic passing of the lamp of knowledge among nurses. China has their nurses renew their devotion to the Florence Nightingale pledge. Australia awards an Australian Nurse of the Year and has several other ceremonies for nurses.


Quality Family Care continues to honor our nurses every day! And of course, this includes all of you caregivers, coordinators, RN assistants, and home health care aids too. Hug someone you love today that works tireless every day to help bring comfort, safety, and compassion to those in need.


Quality Family Care is now hiring care coordinators to join our amazing team. We are also contracting certified nursing assistants, nurses, and home health care aids. Send resume to Or call today to set up an interview 877-513-7156

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