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National Hospital Week – May 12-18, 2024

National Hospital Week takes place during the week of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, which is on May 12, and will take place from May 12 to 18 this year. The holiday was established by the American Hospital Association to shine a spotlight on our many hospitals, health systems, and health care workers who strive to save lives daily.

History of National Hospital Week

The modern concept of a hospital can be traced back to 331 A.D. During this period, the Roman emperor Constantine I (Constantine the Great) abolished all pre-existing pagan hospitals after converting to Christianity. Before this, the patients were isolated from the community. However, as the Christian tradition emphasized the close relationship of the patient with the community members, it became the responsibility of the community to care for the sick.

In 370 A.D., St. Basil the Great established a religious institution in Cappadocia that included a hospital, which was essentially an isolation unit for those suffering from leprosy. He had also constructed buildings to accommodate the poor, the elderly, and the sick. Following this example, similar hospitals were built in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.
In 1099, the Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John led the trend of forming military hospitals. These hospitals fell along the travel routes for easier access and reachability for those who were injured in battle. The Knights Hospitallers provided care for some 2,000 patients. Its specialization was eye disease and was likely the first hospital of its kind. This order has survived over the years as the St. John Ambulance.

Established in 1663, the first hospital within the territory of the present-day United States is said to have been a hospital for soldiers on Manhattan Island. The early hospitals in the U.S. were mostly almshouses — the first was established in 1622, in Boston, Massachusetts. The first incorporated hospital in the U.S. was the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, which was successful in acquiring a charter from the crown in 1751.

National Hospital Week timeline

331 A.D.
The Abolition of Pagan Hospitals

The Roman emperor Constantine I abolishes all pre-existing pagan hospitals after converting to Christianity.

370 A.D.
A Hospital For Leprosy Patients is Built

St. Basil the Great establishes a religious institution in Cappadocia that includes a hospital for those suffering from leprosy.

The Establishment of Military Hospitals

The Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St. John leads the trend of forming military hospitals, which fall along travel routes for easier access.

The United States’ First Incorporated Hospital

The Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia is successful in acquiring a charter from the crown.

National Hospital Week FAQs

What was the 2020 Hospital Week theme?

The National Hospital Week’s 2020 theme was ‘Where Health Comes First.’ It celebrated the hope and healing that hospitals provided to their communities during COVID-19.

When did National Hospital Week start?

The first National Hospital Day was established in the year 1921 as an attempt to inspire community members to support hospitals after the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918. In 1953, National Hospital Day was changed to National Hospital Week.

What can I do during National Hospital Week?

You can think about ways to show support to your local hospitals. Maybe even think about a career in medicine if you want to help save lives.

How to Observe National Hospital Week

  1. Write a note of appreciation

    Receiving a handwritten note of appreciation can add that little personal touch. You can write a note to a specific health care provider or send a card to an entire department at the hospital.

  2. Spread awareness

    Make sure the people around you are aware of this week and use this opportunity to appreciate the hospitals near them. You can upload posts on social media with the hashtag #NationalHospitalWeek for maximum reach.

  3. Volunteer

    Small local hospitals are constantly understaffed and might need your help. Go enquire at the nearest community hospital to see if there are ways you can assist.

5 Interesting Facts About Hospitals

  1. The creator of “Peter Pan” had a big heart

    J. M. Barrie, the creator of “Peter Pan,” gave away his rights to the story to a children’s hospital so that the royalties could help fund it.

  2. Beer as prescription medication

    Some hospitals keep beer with prescription labels for alcoholics — this is in case they go through withdrawal (which can be fatal).

  3. Children don’t like clowns that much

    In a hospital design study for children, researchers asked 250 children about their opinions on clowns, with most reporting that they disliked or feared them.

  4. Born in a hospital

    President Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. president to be born in a hospital.

  5. Bagels can be life-threatening

    Bagel-related injuries or B.R.I.s send over 2,000 Americans to the hospital every year.

Why National Hospital Week is Important

  1. To show appreciation

    This week is celebrated to show that we are grateful for the work of healthcare providers and hospitals. A simple word of thanks goes a long way.

  2. Healthcare providers save lives

    Healthcare is one of the most important professions in the world because they help preserve human life. Their contributions must be recognized.

  3. To spread positivity

    Sending thank-you notes and showing support helps spread positive energy. It shows that we are empathetic and care about other people’s contributions.

National Hospital Week dates

2022May 8Sunday
2023May 7Sunday
2024May 12Sunday
2025May 11Sunday
2026May 10Sunday

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