MedPro Blog

National Nurses Week: The History and Impact Nurses Have on America

National Nurses Week: The History and Impact Nurses Have on America

National Nurses Week takes place this year between May 6 (National Nurses Day) and May 12 (the birthdate of Florence Nightingale). If you’re a nurse, have you thanked yourself lately?

Why not? After all, you play an extremely important part in the healthcare of this country. You do realize that, don’t you?

If you don’t, here a few critical facts regarding the importance of nurses in the U.S. (brought to you by the American Nursing Association):

  • Nursing is the most trusted profession in the country. The annual Gallup poll that asks Americans to rate different professions for their ethics and honesty found that the population ranks nurses as “very high” or “high” by more than 80 percent of those polled.
  • “The public’s high regard for the profession,” the ANA says, “coupled with nurses’ education and skills, makes them well positioned to help transform the health care system into one that places more emphasis on prevention, wellness, and coordination of care.”
  • There are about 3.1 million licensed registered nurses in America, with about 2.6 million currently working as a nurse.
  • More than 150,000 people have joined the profession since 2004 (a 5.3 percent increase), with more than 14.5 percent (450,000) nurses receiving the first license in the U.S. after 2003.

National Nurses Week in its present incarnation got its start in the mid-1950s. It took several years for the recognition to become national, but the week now is celebrated in communities and in medical facilities all over the country. Here’s a very brief history of National Nurses Week.

  • What we now call National Nurses Week got its start in in 1953 when a member of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Dorothy Sutherland, asked President Eisenhower to proclaim “Nurse Day” for October 1954. The president didn’t make the proclamation, but the ANA observed a National Nurse Week from October 11-16, 1954.
  • President Richard Nixon in 1974 finally issued a proclamation that designated National Nurse Week.
  • The ANA started “National RN Recognition Day” on May 6, 1996.

The ANA recommends the following activities for National Nurses Week.

  • Sponsor health fairs, organize a walk-a-thon, conduct preventative screenings. This helps promote a positive image for nurses.
  • Invite a politician to follow a nurse around during the work day. This helps our lawmakers understand how critical nurses are to successful patient care.
  • Talk to your newspaper about asking its readers to submit stories about how a nurse has helped improve their lives and/or provided above-and-beyond care at a critical time.
  • (For more ideas, check out’s list of suggestions.)

If you’re an RN with an itch to see the country, honor your contribution to your own contribution to the welfare of the United States’ citizens and contact MedPro Healthcare Staffing about our many traveling nurse assignments. See the country while bringing your critically needed skills to medical facilities desperate to have them. Contact us today!


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