Happy National Nurses Week

May 9, 2017

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

~ Florence Nightingale Pledge


National Nurses Week began in 1954 from October 11th-16th, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. It went through numerous variances and proclamations up until 1990, where it landed with official designation of May 6th-12th, ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Florence Nightingale is a pivotal figure in the profession’s history – many consider her the founder of modern nursing. Born in 1820, in her day nurses often felt like their jobs were unimportant. Nightingale opened the first nursing school in 1860 and strived to raise the profession’s standards through education. She was also involved in improving and evolving the design of hospitals. It was during the Crimean War, where she was dismayed by the dirtiness of military hospitals, that she began making sanitary improvements and established standards for clean and safe hospitals. She even wrote the first textbook on the subject, Notes of Nursing, in 1960. It covered the principles of the nursing profession, offered advice on how to care, and more. Much of her influence remains evident in modern nursing.

Today, nurses come in a multitude of forms and are found in numerous settings beyond the hospital, like schools, cruise ships, correctional facilities, and beyond. It’s a demanding profession that requires a bevy of knowledge and distinctive compassion for the care of others. It’s stressful and at times enervating – something that this year’s theme addresses.

This year’s Nurses Week theme is Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit. The American Nurses Association is offering numerous resources aimed at reducing the physical and emotional consequences of morally complex situations, building confidence in complex situations, reducing burnout, and more.

Nursing is a rewarding, but arduous, career. National Nurses Week is a tremendous opportunity to set aside some real time for reflection and thanks toward all the nurses, everywhere. Thank you for all you do!