National Nurses Week


National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale's birthday, and pays tribute to the thousands of nurses in the United States. Nightingale was an English nurse who is considered the founder of modern nursing and helped establish The Nightingale School for Nurses in 1860, which is considered the first secular nursing school in the world.

The legacy of Florence Nightingale lives on through the Nightingale Pledge — the pledge all new nurses must make before being admitted into the nursing profession.

The permanent dates allow for enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event. National Nurses Week begins on May 6th with National Nurses Day. May 8th is designated as National Student Nurses Day which the American Nurses Association began in 1997.  National Nurses Week concludes on May 12th with the celebration of International Nurses Day and the birthday of Florence Nightingale.  

The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1896. Each of ANA's state and territorial nurses associations promotes the nursing profession at the state and regional levels by conducting 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.

Efforts to establish a National Nurses Week and Nurse Appreciation Day date back as early as the 1950s, when several resolutions and requests for formal recognition were presented to the U.S. government, but were unsuccessful. In 1974 President Richard Nixon proclaimed a National Nurses Week, while in 1991 May 6-12th was formally recognized as National Nurses Week by the American Nurses Association.

Timeline of History of National Nurses Week


The Original Nightingale Pledge:

I solemnly pledge myself before God and presence of this assembly;
To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.
I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.
I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.
With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.


[ Back to Tools ]