National Nurses Day

On May 6th, nurses across the country are celebrated for the life-saving work they do. Read about why and how we should pamper nurses on this special day.

Nurse holding a stethoscope shaped like a heart for National Nurses Day

When is National Nurses Day?

It is celebrated on May 6th.

History of National Nurses Day

In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare tried to get President Eisenhower to establish a “Nurse Day” starting in October of 1954. However and for whatever reason, Eisenhower never issued a proclamation.

In February of 1974, President Nixon dedicated a week as National Nurse Week and did issue a proclamation.

February of 1982, the ANA Board of Directors finally dedicated May 6, 1982, as “National Nurses Day.” The United States Congress issued a joint resolution which affirmed May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”

President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25, 1982 declaring May 6th “National Recognition Day for Nurses”.

To further recognize the hard work and dedication of the nursing profession, The ANA Board of Directors decided to recognize nurses for an entire week, proclaiming May 6 – 12, 1991, as National Nurses Week.

Why Celebrate National Nurses Day?

The nursing profession is filled with dedicated, empathetic, hard-working people. During the Pandemic of 2020, our nursing profession was challenged beyond imagination.

Nurses deserve to be recognized for their selfless commitment to taking care of their patients!

How to observe National Nurses Day

  • Make a gift basket filled with self-care goodies and give it to a nurse in your life.
  • Take a nurse out to lunch or coffee and treat them.
  • Share this post and tag your friends and family who are nurses and tell them how much you appreciate them!
  • Send a handwritten note to the special nurses in your life

Famous Nurses

The most famous nurse is probably Florence Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale OM RRC DStJ was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople. 


Others include:

  • Clara Barton
  • Claire Bertschinger
  • Florence Guinness Blake
  • Mary Breckinridge
  • Dorothea Dix
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney
  • Linda Richards

Read more about the above nurses here.

How can I become a nurse?


Nurses require a undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. There are other pathways into the medical field that don’t require a B.S, but to be a registered nurse, you’ll need to go to college.

2: Take NCLEX-RN Exam to become LICENSED 

Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll need to prove your knowledge. For registered nurses, this will be the NCLEX-RN. However, each nursing career type as its own particular licensing exam and certification requirements by state.


Areas of specialization require additional certifications. Make sure to check into the requirements when you decide to specialize.

Once you have your specialization certification, you’ll continue to learn through educational opportunities provided to you by your employer. You may even want to continue your education and get a Master’s degree or study to become a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician’s Assistant.

Visit our calendar of National Days for more celebrations!

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