Theirs is often the first face we see when injured or ailing, and, like angels of healing, they guide us down the road to recovery. Every year from May 6 – 12, we honor and celebrate nurses for their strong commitment, compassion, and care that they display in their important role all over the world.
New Jersey businessman, Edwin Scanlan, began promoting the idea of Nurses Day in the U.S. in the early 1970s after witnessing the excellent care nurses provided at his hometown hospital, Riverview Medical Center. Things really took off in 1974, when the International Council of Nurses proclaimed May 12 International Nurses Day. Eight years later in 1982, a signed proclamation by President Ronald Reagan declared May 6th “National Recognition Day for Nurses,” and was later extended to a weeklong celebration to include the observance of International Nurses Day on May 12th.
Happy birthday, Florence Nightingale!
While the week of May 6 -12 is National Nurses Week, the 12th is significant not only because it’s recognized as International Nurses Day around the world, but the day was chosen purposefully because it’s the birthday of one of the world’s most notable nurses, Florence Nightingale. Here are some interesting facts about the most famous nurse in modern history:
- Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of the modern nursing profession.
- She is named after the city of her birth, Florence, Italy.
- Born into an affluent family, her parents forbade her to enter the nursing field, but at age 16, Florence knew it was her calling.
- She earned the name, “The Lady with the Lamp” during the Crimean War for her solitary rounds made past dark to comfort patient after patient with only a small lamp lighting her way.
- In the 1870s, Nightingale mentored Linda Richards,“America’s first trained nurse.”
- Nightingale’s book Notes on Nursing is still a classic read for nursing students today.
- In 1883, Queen Victoria awarded Florence Nightingale with the Royal Red Cross.
- Each year, a service is held in Westminster Abbey in London, during which a symbolic lamp is taken from the Nurses’ Chapel in the Abbey and handed from one nurse to another, and then to the Dean, who places it on the High Altar. This process signifies the passing of knowledge from one nurse to another.
We wish nurses everywhere a very happy Nurses Day, and we thank them for their tireless hours of dedication. For a fun and thoughtful way to brighten the day of a special nurse you know, share one of our bluemountain.com Nurses Day eCards. We’re sure the smile they’ll bring will be just what the doctor ordered!