By Kelly Ross
May 6 is National Nurses Day and marks the beginning of National Nurses Week which ends on Florence Nightingale’s Birthday on May 12. Nightingale founded what is recognized as modern nursing in today’s world, and is a prominent figure in nursing still today. While nursing has evolved since Nightingale’s time in the 1800s nurses have continued to play an integral role in the healthcare industry.
National Nurses Day is a relatively young holiday in the United States. It was only in 1982 that President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 6 a national day of recognition for nurses. However, National Nurses Week actually predates the May 6 holiday and first became recognized by President Nixon in 1974.
Today National Nurses Day is celebrated across the country in various ways. Some people kiss a nurse, while others spread awareness about the history of nursing and what the job of a nurse actually entails. These men and women work tirelessly to provide quality patient care.
There are over 3 million professionally active nurses in the United States alone, and many of them are represented by unions. One of those unions being National Nurses United, the largest union in the U.S. representing registered nurses. National Nurses United unified three of the most influential organizations for unionized nurses in the U.S.: the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses and Massachusetts Nurses Organization.
Unions allow for nurses to focus on their job at hand, providing quality patient care, all the while knowing that they have someone in their corner looking out for their best interests and supporting them. So today, thank a nurse and show your support for nurses across the country as we celebrate National Nurses Day.
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