National Nurses Week is here. Lately, nurses deserve much more than a week — a whole year, perhaps. Good thing 2020 is also Year of the Nurse!
Of course, those in the profession know that the selfless heroism of nurses is nothing new. And nurses deserve to be celebrated all year round! Let’s take a look at how National Nurses Week got started and how nurses have been serving on the front lines long before the current pandemic.
The Origins of National Nurses Week
The origin of National Nurses Week dates back to 1953, when the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Dorothy Sutherland sent a proposal to President Dwight Eisenhower to proclaim a “Nurse Day” in October of the next year. The proclamation wasn’t made, but a “National Nurse Week” was observed the next year to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea.
It wasn’t until 1982 that President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring May 6th “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” Eight years later, the American Nurses Association (ANA) expanded this day to a week-long celebration—May 6 – 12, 1991, was officially declared as National Nurses Week. Then, in 1993, the Board of Directors designated these dates as permanent, and National Nurses Week has been officially celebrated ever since!
Heroic Nursing in Past Pandemics
We’ve all seen plenty of news stories about the courageous and resourceful nurses putting their lives on the line to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. But nurses played just as important of a role in the last major pandemic — the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.
In the United States, the outbreak infected 25 million people and killed around 675,000. Nurses were overwhelmed all over the country, but continued to fight courageously, often putting their own health and safety second to that of patients. At the start of October of that year, nurses were seeing averages of 20 to 30 cases per day, with each case potentially consisting of more than one patient at a time — nurses often cared for entire families in one call.
Celebrate Your Fellow Nurses
If there’s one thing that nurses’ actions in past pandemics and the current COVID-19 crisis show us, it’s that our nurses are invaluable. And that’s why National Nurses Week is more important now than ever. From BOS Medical to all nurses: a sincere and heartfelt “thank you!”
You Can Make an Impact
Ready to jump-start your nursing career and find your dream job? We can help. Contact BOS Medical today to get started.