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
The Roman emperor Constantine I abolishes all pre-existing pagan hospitals after converting to Christianity.
St. Basil the Great establishes a religious institution in Cappadocia that includes a hospital for those suffering from leprosy.
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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
Born in a hospital
President Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. president to be born in a hospital.
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
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.
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.
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