International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.
International Nurses Day commemorates the birth of Florence Nightingale, the architect of modern nursing. The first observance of the event was started in 1974 by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) to highlight the important role nurses fulfill in health care.
Born in 1820, the British reformer was educated by her father who exerted a profound influence on her intellectual and moral development. Her polymathic gifts meant she could access data and works of reformers from a range of European sources. She was also blessed by her family’s support of women’s education, which enabled her to network with the intellectual and political elite, using them as an audience for her reforms.
Her service to the wounded British soldiers of the Crimean war bought her work to the limelight during the 1850's. Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing, a statistician and an able public administrator who defined concepts of public health. She collected vast statistics from her service in field hospitals during the war and was an activist for reform in public health systems and patient care. Her work transformed the social recognition of nursing into a profession based on beliefs in human dignity and scientific knowledge. She laid the groundwork for people-centred care.
The theme for this year is ”Our Nurses. Our Future”.
Historically, as well as today, nurses are at the forefront of fighting epidemics and pandemics - providing high quality and respectful treatment and care. They are often the first and sometimes the only health professional that people see and the quality of their initial assessment, care and treatment is vital.
Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, yet there is an urgent shortage of nurses worldwide with 5.9 million more nurses still needed, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Our Nurses. Our Future. will be a global campaign which sets out what we want for nursing in the future in order to address the global health challenges and improve global health for all. We need to learn from the lessons of the pandemic and translate these into actions of the future.
Last Modified : 5/9/2023