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Nurses Week 2018 – Celebrating Nursing Professionals

Becoming a nurse opens doors to countless opportunities. During my career, I have saved lives, helped patients through trying times, and accomplished certification and higher degrees in my specialty. Obtaining my nursing degree is one of the best decisions I have made for my career, life, and future.

Each year, we celebrate nurses and their accomplishments for an entire week! Let’s explore the history of Nurses Week and how nurses celebrate across the nation.

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History of Nurses Week

The history of National Nurses Week began in 1953, when Dorothy Sutherland of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to create “Nurse Day”. This proclamation never happened.

Many other attempts followed and failed. Thirty years later in 1982, a major victory occurred with the proclamation of  “National Recognition Day for Nurses”. In 1990, it was expanded to a week-long celebration, which runs from May 6 – 12.

Today, National Nurses Week is celebrated yearly. The last day each year occurs on the birthday of Florence Nightingale. She is best known as the founder of modern nursing.

How Nurses Celebrate Nurses week is celebrated nationally, locally by employers, and personally.

National Celebrations

On a national level, the American Nurses Association (ANA) creates a yearly theme for Nurses week. This year’s theme is “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence”. The ANA offers a Nurses week e-store available to purchase memorabilia like lunchboxes, pens, and totes. A digital toolbox is available for free download to advertise the theme in nursing facilities.

The ANA understands that nurses need continuing education hours for license renewal. They offer a free CEU webinar course for Nurses week every year.

Employment Celebration Ideas

Nurses week is an opportunity to recognize nurses for the care they provide every day. In a national study, employees were asked “what could leaders do more of to improve employee engagement?” 58% of respondents replied “give recognition”. Nurses look forward to this week of activities designed to recognize their work.   

Ideas to celebrate in the workplace include:

  • Blessing of the Hands – Human touch is important. To perform a blessing of the hands, nurses gather as a group and a blessing is read over their hands.
  • Nursing School Uniform Day – Nurses dress in their nursing school uniforms for a day of work. Some nurses wear the traditional hat and dress.
  • Relaxation Day – Local salons and spas will offer a 5-minute hand or back massage just for nurses.
  • Recognition from Physicians – Nurses work alongside doctors everyday, so receiving a kind word or note is much appreciated by most nurses. This recognition helps nurses understand how much the doctors need them as part of the healthcare team.

Do Something For YOU

You leave work and forget about the nurses week celebrations. Let the party continue on a personal level too!

Ways to continue the celebration include:

  • Pamper Yourself – Nurses are used to taking care of others. Make this week a bit more about you! Get a massage, manicure, or pedicure and enjoy some much needed TLC.
  • Buy a new stethoscope – Time for a new stethoscope? What a better time to buy one than Nurses week!
  • Buy new shoes – Walking for 12 hours can do a number on your feet. Invest in some new shoes this nurses week.
  • Take a PTO day – Haven’t had a day off in a while? Take one during National Nurses Week!

Florence Nightingale set the bar high for nurses to always care for others. Don’t forget about yourself and those amazing nurses around you. Take a little time to enjoy National Nurses Week this year!

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Nurses Week 2018 – Celebrating Nursing Professionals
Janine Kelbach

Janine Kelbach, RNC-OB is a freelance writer and owner of WriteRN.net.