National Nurse Day

Young woman in nurse uniform, comforting patient, hospital setting, holding stethoscope and smiling warmly..
National nurse day illustration

Well, well, well, if it isn't our lovely hug-in-a-scrub, life-saving, bandage-rolling, stethoscope-rocking saviors of the health world. Let's roll the thermometer, oops, I mean the red carpet for National Nurses Day!

When is Nurse Day?

It's national nurse day on the 6th May.

History of National Nurses Day

This day, as the stats here at show, saw 3555 mentions online, achieving the crowning glory on 6th May 2020. But why? What exactly started this day that lets us celebrate these heroes in scrubs? Sit back as we inject you with some knowledge.
Believe it or not, it all started in 1953 when an 'illuminated' Dorothy Sutherland from the U.S. Department of Health proposed an official recognition day for nurses to President Eisenhower. Although he didn't make it official, thankfully, others listened and in 1974, then-President Nixon proclaimed a 'National Nurse Week'. The date, 6th May, was no random selection but a nod to the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp and a beacon of the nursing profession.

Why Celebrate?

Come on, do we really need a reason? They change bedpans without grimacing, fetch ice cream at 3 am, and let's not forget the literal life-saving. They are our sunshine on gloomy health days, managing to draw blood with the gentlest stab. In the kaleidoscope of healthcare, nurses are the true unsung heroes who bring comfort and care beyond the medication.

Ways to Celebrate

There's enough room for creativity here. Send a thank-you note or maybe bake a cookie that looks like a scrub shirt, while not mandatory is sure to light up their day. And hey, social media ain't for selfie queens alone. Give a shout out to a nurse who's made a difference to you or your loved ones. Try trending a hashtag, something like #NurseMyHero perhaps?

History behind the term 'Nurse'


Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War

In 1860, the term 'nurse' took on a new meaning as a result of the groundbreaking work of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. Nightingale, often referred to as the 'Lady with the Lamp,' revolutionized the field of nursing by implementing sanitary practices and providing care to wounded soldiers. Her efforts not only saved lives but also elevated the status of nurses as skilled professionals.


Formation of the Nurses' Association

The year 1873 marked a significant milestone in the history of the term 'nurse.' The Nurses' Association, later known as the American Nurses Association (ANA), was established. This organization aimed to promote the welfare and development of nurses, setting standards for nursing education and practice. The formation of the Nurses' Association further solidified nursing as a recognized profession.


Creation of the Modern Nursing Uniform

In 1901, the term 'nurse' experienced another evolution with the introduction of the modern nursing uniform. Prior to this time, nurses wore various attire, often resembling that of maids. The new uniform, designed by Isabel Hampton Robb, featured a white dress and cap, signifying cleanliness and professionalism. The standardized uniform not only enhanced the professional image of nurses but also symbolized their dedication to patient care.


Recognition of Nursing as an Essential Service in WWI

The outbreak of World War I in 1914 led to a significant shift in the perception of nursing and solidified its importance as an essential service. Nurses played an integral role in caring for wounded soldiers and were recognized for their dedication and bravery. Their critical contributions during the war further elevated the term 'nurse' and highlighted the crucial role they play in healthcare.


World Health Organization and Nursing

In 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) was established, bringing global attention to healthcare systems and the role of nurses. The WHO recognized the vital contributions of nurses and emphasized the need for adequate nursing education and workforce development. This recognition on an international scale further solidified the term 'nurse' as a respected profession worldwide.

Did you know?

Did you know, the first ever nursing school was established in India (circa 250 B.C.) called 'Susrutha School of Surgery'. Yup, the healing touch of nurses dates back to centuries ago.


awareness fun remembrance healthcare nurses

First identified

6th May 2015

Most mentioned on

6th May 2020

Total mentions


Other days


Nurse Day

healthcare decisions

Healthcare Decisions Day

law enforcement

Law Enforcement Day

medal of honor

Medal Of Honor Day


Nurses Day


Camera Day


Period Day

former prisoner of war recognition

Former Prisoner Of War Recognition Day


Foundation Day

rescue dog

Rescue Dog Day