International Nurses’ Day is observed on May 12—the birthday of Florence Nightingale—and it recognizes the contributions that nurses make to society. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has been celebrating Nurses’ Day since 1965, and Canada and the U.S. celebrate nurses’ impact with a full National Nurses’ Week.
To mark the occasion, the ICN produces an International Nurses Day kit with a different theme each year. Previously, these addressed working with the poor, fighting AIDS, or equal access to care. This year’s materials are dedicated to “nursing the world to health.” With the global pandemic suddenly shining a very bright light on the risks and sacrifices that nurses make every day in the line of duty, it’s more important than ever to recognize and celebrate their work.
According to the ICN, “(m)ore than 100 nurses from around the world have died as a result of contracting COVID-19 in the course of their duty.” However, the actual number may be much higher than that current estimate because the relevant information and data are not recorded accurately. The WHO reported that at least 23,000 healthcare workers have been infected worldwide but, according to the ICN, “there is no breakdown of how many of those are nurses, and no centralized systematic recording of such infections and deaths.”
International Nurses’ Day and the National Nurses’ Week are almost upon us, so mark your calendar and celebrate these dedicated professionals:
- International Nurses’ Day — May 12th
- National Nurses’ Week in Canada — May 11–17
- National Nurses’ Week in the U.S.— May 6–12
Let’s all celebrate nurses as they put themselves at risk to save the lives of people infected by COVID-19.