The Story of National Nurses Week

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It’s National Nurses Week and all of us here at Tafford want to say thank you to our customers and friends who give so much of themselves to care for others every day!  We hope you are all getting some well-deserved recognition and are finding fun ways to celebrate.  This year’s official theme is “delivering quality and innovation in patient care,” something we try to help you accomplish by providing you with the scrubs and accessories you need at prices you will love.  To commemorate this very special week, we thought we would provide a short history of National Nurses Week, how it started and how it became what it is today.

The reason National Nurses Week is celebrated May 6th-12th goes back to Florence Nightingale, a celebrated English social reformer and the founder of modern nursing.  She became famous during the Crimean War of 1853-56 where she served as a nurse, tending to wounded soldiers and was even dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” because of her nightly rounds.  In 1860, Nightingale founded the first secular nursing school in the world at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, paving the way for professional nursing as we know it today.  Each year the celebrations of National Nurses Week lead up to the 12th of May, Nightingale’s birthday.


In 1954 National Nurse Week was actually observed from October 11-16 to mark the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s mission to Crimea during the war.  The International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed May 12th “International Nurse Day” in 1974 to focus on Nightingale’s birthday instead.  In February of 1974, the White House designated a week to be known as National Nurse Week and President Nixon issued a proclamation.  Congress issued a joint resolution in 1982 designating May 6th as “National Recognition Day for Nurses” which the American Nurses Association Board of Directors acknowledged as National Nurse Day.  On March 25th of that year, President Reagan signed a proclamation declaring May 6th “National Recognition Day for Nurses”.  Then, in 1990, the ANA Board of Directors elected to expand the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, officially declaring May 6th-12th National Nurses Week.

We hope nurses everywhere are having an amazing National Nurses Week!  Be sure to check your email and our website for Nurses Week savings – our small way of saying thank you.  And check out our Facebook page to read the inspirational stories from our Share the Reason You Care contest winners.

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