International Nurse Day: History, Significance, Theme

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 18, 2022, 12:45

There’s a belief that doctors are next to God since they are the only ones who can save humankind from sickness. If that’s the case, nurses should be regarded as angels because they are the ones who make a doctor’s job easier by staying by their side and helping them. They help patients get better by communicating with them, understanding their needs, and providing comprehensive care. 

Sometimes, patients start feeling better just because of the empathetic behaviour of a nurse. Therefore, a nurse’s role in the healthcare industry is as important as a doctor’s. Just like we applaud the doctors all over the world on Doctor’s Day, we must give a round of applause to the brave, hard-working nurses on World Nurses Day too. 

About International Nurses Day

To mark the contribution of the kind, compassionate, and brave nurses towards the healthcare industry, World Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide on 12th May every year.

12th May was chosen in 1974 as the date of celebration worldwide because Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, was born on this day. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) prepares the International Nurses’ Kit that contains educational and public information materials used by nurses worldwide and distributes them. 

Each year, there’s a different World Nurses Day campaign. Themes for International Nurses Day began in 1988, and the first-ever theme was ‘Safe Motherhood’. Almost all countries in the world celebrate this day with utmost enthusiasm. In fact, countries such as Ireland, Australia, the United States, and Canada dedicate a whole week to celebrating the kindness and selflessness of nurses. Some countries pick a separate date to celebrate as their National Nurses Day.

Significance of International Nurses Day

As previously mentioned, International Nurses Day is celebrated on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is known as the pioneer of modern nursing. Without her constant effort towards the betterment of the healthcare industry, so many lives would have been lost in the Crimean War in 1854. She gave utmost importance to cleanliness in hospitals, and her superior knowledge of medicine saved the lives of many.

Florence Nightingale is seen as an icon of the Victorian era for her endless contribution to healthcare all over the world. Despite coming from a wealthy family, her heart ached for poor, helpless people. Nurses still look up to her and aim to become as influential as her. The Florence Nightingale Medal, which is the highest global recognition for nurses, is named in her honour.

Humanity can seldom thank healthcare workers enough for the sacrifices they make for us. The global pandemic is especially putting nurses as well as other healthcare workers through many battles. Millions have fallen victim to the deadly Coronavirus, and nurses, too, have been prey to this disease. Dedicating a day to nurses is the least we can do to show our gratitude towards them.

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FAQs About International Nurses Day

  • Why is World Nurses Day celebrated on 12th May?

12th May is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the most influential nurse of all time. Her contributions to the healthcare industry have saved many lives. In her honour, 12th May is celebrated as World Nurses Day.

  • What is the theme of 2021 World Nurses Day?

The theme for 2021 World Nurses Day was ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare’.

  • When and where was Florence Nightingale born?

Florence Nightingale was born on 12th May 1820 in Florence, Italy.

  • Who Started Nurses Day?

Celebration of Nurses Day was initiated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) in 1965.