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MonMay 12

International Nurses Day – May 12, 2025

Nurses all across the world commemorate International Nurses Day on May 12 every year. Some of them had beloved nurses as children, while others coiled at the sight of blue scrubs. Some had sweet smiles and soft expressions, and they never forgot our treat as we walked out the door. While others had warmer grins and kinder faces, it reminded us of the day we were jabbed in the eye with a sharp syringe while looking out the window. We know it was all for the best, though. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare sector, dressed in scrubs, stethoscopes in their pockets, and a doctor’s most trusted ally.

Interested in pursuing nursing as a career?

There are many resources out there to help you get started. The guide explains the cost of nursing school and how to pay for it and these nursing scholarships can help give you a head start on the tuition costs. It’s also worth understanding how you may be impacted by student loan forgiveness for nurses.

History of International Nurses Day

Caring for someone has changed over time. While official education and training for this have only been available for a few centuries. Only a wet nurse and a midwife performed nursing tasks at first. It wasn’t until the 16th Century that it came to be defined as someone who looks after the sick, as it is now.

Florence Nightingale was the first to establish what is now considered contemporary nursing procedures. She was born in Florence, Italy, and was given the name Florence. She was a nurse during the Crimean War and used what she learned there to create a holistic nursing system when she returned home. She earned the nickname ‘the Lady with the Lamp’ during the war because she was known for injuring soldiers at night. Nightingale was a prolific writer who shared nursing methods through her writing. She was also a skilled statistician, presenting her findings and drawing conclusions using data and charts. One of the first forms of a pie chart was created by her.

In 1870, she established the first secular nursing school. It was in collaboration with St. Thomas’ Hospital in London — which is now part of King’s College. She instituted several hygiene and sanitation procedures, including the use of the nurse’s cap. Florence Nightingale was a modern nursing pioneer, and her birthday is commemorated as International Nursing Day.

International Nurses Day timeline

50 A.D.
The First Nurse

St. Paul dispatches Phoebe — the first recorded Christian nurse — to Rome.

The Notes On Nursing

The first-ever nursing manual is published by Florence Nightingale.

The First Nursing School

The first nursing school opens in New England Hospital for women and children in Boston.

A Day Dedicated To The Nurses

“International Nurses Council” established International Nurses Day to highlight the contribution of nurses.

International Nurses Day FAQs

What is the role of a nurse?

The nurse spends more time with the patients than any other healthcare professional. Checking patients’ vitals, writing charts to update attending doctors about patients’ conditions, and administering medicines to the patient are some of the tasks performed by nurses daily.

How does ICN affect nursing?

“Internation Council of Nurses” (ICN) is s a federation for nurses across the globe. It supports and guides nurses while forming a dependable network.

Why disease did Florence Nightingale have?

Florence Nightingale, unfortunately, spent the last years of her life in bed. She was said to have suffered from a variety of illnesses, including Syphilis and Crimean Fever.

International Nurses Day Activities

  1. Give thanks

    Get creative. Make a card or a poster for your favorite nurse. Or, organize a sing-along at your nearby hospital. If it feels like too much effort — though they deserve it for all the hard work they do — simply say thanks to them the next time you see them.

  2. A coffee or a foot massage

    A nurse walks four to five miles every day during their 12-hour shift. If you have close friends or family, pamper them with a foot massage or a spa day. Or, buy them a coffee or a special dinner today.

  3. Spread the word

    Share a special memory of yours with a nurse or post a picture on social media using the hashtag #CelebrateNurses. Or, if you know someone smart with a penchant for caring for others, persuade them to take up the noble profession.

5 Facts About Nursing

  1. Largest healthcare profession

    Nurses account for 59 % of healthcare professionals worldwide, or 3.8 million registered nurses, with 200,000 new nurse posts generated each year.

  2. Gender bias

    The nursing profession has become more inclusive over the last few decades, but there is still a long way to go; according to WHO statistics from 2020, just 10% of nursing personnel are male.

  3. Started as a woman’s job

    The word ‘nurse’ is derived from the word ‘nutrire’ which was used to refer to a ‘wet nurse.’

  4. Sanitation practice from Nightingale

    Florence Nightingale introduced key sanitation and hygiene practices as well as the nurse’s cap as part of the nurse’s uniform.

  5. Lot of first cries

    Lucretia Lester delivered approximately 1,300 babies between 1745 and 1779.

Why We Love International Nurses Day

  1. Nurse’s room for improvement

    On International Nurses Day, many educational activities and events are organized. This is for nurses to introduce themselves to advances in the sector.

  2. Honor and respect

    Nurses are honored at events all across the world. They are recognized in numerous countries for their substantial contributions.

  3. New developments

    On this day, nursing schools and departments are inaugurated. New policies are also introduced to help promote and uplift the profession of nursing.

International Nurses Day dates

2025May 12Monday
2026May 12Tuesday
2027May 12Wednesday
2028May 12Friday
2029May 12Saturday

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