Each year from May 6 to May 12, we recognize the invaluable work of nurses during National Nurses Week. Nurses are the first line of defense in the prevention of illness and injury. They champion and promote the health of our nation.
In 1953 Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, proposed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaim a "Nurses’ Day"; he did not approve it.
In January 1974, 12 May was chosen to celebrate the day as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered the founder of modern nursing. Each year, ICN prepares and distributes the International Nurses’ Day Kit. The kit contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere.
In 1999, the British public sector union UNISON voted to ask the ICN to transfer this day to another date, saying Nightingale does not represent modern nursing.
As of 1998, 8 May was designated as annual National Student Nurses’ Day. As of 2003, the Wednesday within National Nurses Week, between 6 and 12 May, is National School Nurse Day.
The U.S. celebrates National Nursing Week each year from 6 May to 12 May (the birthday of Florence Nightingale). Canada celebrates National Nursing Week each year during the week that includes May 12, which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The Canadian Minister of Health instituted National Nursing Week in Canada in 1985.
In the U.S., National Nurses Week was first observed from October 11–16, 1954 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. President Nixon later proclaimed a "National Nurse Week" in 1974. In 1982, President Reagan signed a proposal officially designating May 6 as "National Recognition Day for Nurses," now known as National Nurses Day or National RN Recognition Day. In 1990, the American Nurses Association (ANA) expanded the holiday into the current National Nurses Week celebrated from 6 May to 12 May.
In 1997, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, the ANA designated 8 May as National Student Nurses Day. In 2003, the ANA designated the Wednesday within National Nurses Week as National School Nurse Day. The National Association of School Nurses, however, claims that National School Nurse Day has been recognized since 1972.
Source: hrsa.gov | wikipedia.org