National Nurses Week is a yearly event to honor and celebrate our nurses. It was originally celebrated in October, 1954 to recognize the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Nightingale is considered the founder of nursing. In 1990 the American Nurses Association expanded it into a yearly national event, and it now takes place between May 6 and May 12 each year – the week of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year, Nurses Week 2014 is celebrating the 160th anniversary.
The modern purpose of Nurses Week is to recognize and appreciate the contributions that nurses make within their communities. It is the biggest health care event in the U.S., and celebrations are organized throughout the nation to recognize and honor the 2.7 million registered nurses, 1.4 million nursing assistants, and 740,000 licensed and vocational nurses, and the indispensable work they do.
The number of nurses in our nation is already impressive, but their numbers are projected to further rise in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be 3.2 million registered nurses, 1.8 million nursing assistants, and 921,300 licensed and vocational nurses by 2022.