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National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale's birthday. It features a host of events across the U.S. to honor nurses for the work they do and also educates the public about nurses’ role in health care.

National Nurses Week 2019
4 Million Reasons to Celebrate

While the first National Nurses Day was celebrated in 1954 – the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s famous mission to the Crimea – it wasn’t until 1982 that President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation that May 6 would henceforth be National Nurses Day and the annual celebration of nurses’ efforts would be nationally recognized.

ANA’s leading role

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has always led efforts to celebrate nursing, ensuring that recognition is promoted as widely as possible and in 1990 extended it to a week-long celebration - National Nurses Week. ANA's state and territorial nurses associations also conduct celebrations during National Nurses Week to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing make to the community, and every year ANA selects a theme for the week highlighting a particular aspect of nurses’ practice.

We take pride in the fact that the public has rated nursing as the most honest and ethical profession for the past 17 consecutive years. Our commitment to protecting, promoting, and improving health care for all is well recognized, and we serve the public in a wide range of roles and work settings. Therefore, it is only fitting that we take one week each year to celebrate our profession and the vital roles nurses play in health care.


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The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

The Foundation expressly disclaims any political views or communications published on or accessible from this website.

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