It’s Time to Thank a Nurse: National Nurses Week

national nurses week

If you’ve ever been to the hospital, the doctor’s office, or even the nurse’s office at school, chances are a nurse has taken care of you. If you were born in a hospital, a nurse was probably one of the first people you met! National Nurses Week 2019 is May 6 – May 12, and it’s a week to thank nurses for all they do to make us feel better.

Nurses have a hard job, but a rewarding one. People who become nurses say they do it because they like helping people, and are interested in science, medicine and healing.

On National Nurses Day, May 6, celebrations and receptions are held across the United States to honor nurses. Among the most popular activities are banquets, state and city proclamations, and seminars. Many nurses also receive gifts or flowers from friends, family members, or patients to thank them for their work.

May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The nurse from England is known as the founder of professional nursing, because of her work during the Crimean War (1853-1856).

Many of Florence Nightingale’s ideas and practices are still used by nurses today. Florence came from a wealthy family, but from a very young age she helped the poor and ill people in the village next to her estate. By the age of 16, Florence knew that she wanted to become a nurse. It was very disappointing to her parents, who considered nursing a lowly profession and wanted her to marry at the age of 17. Florence refused and instead enrolled for training in nursing at a school in Germany.

During the Crimean War of 1853, Nightingale was asked to help improve unsanitary and inhumane conditions at a hospital for injured soldiers. She went to work, cleaning the hospital from top to bottom and providing clean linens for the soldiers. This was a big deal at the time, because no one then knew about the connection between germs and infection.

She made regular rounds and talked to her patients, which comforted them. Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as “The Lady with the Lamp”.

National Nurses Week was first celebrated in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation designating May 6 a “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”

The Florence Nightingale Pledge

This modified “Hippocratic Oath” was composed in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit, MI.It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the 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 all 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.”

Follow this link for a fun craft to do to celebrate National Nurses Week.

Meet our kid hero Ryan who can give you an inside scoop on how great nurses are!

By Karen Rice
Official Kids Mag