May 9, 2016

Celebrate National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week, an annual event that takes place from May 6 through May 12, recognizes the important role nurses play in the American healthcare system. Celebrations and receptions are held across the United States to honor nurses and the nursing profession.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports and encourages National Nurses Week recognition programs through state and district nurses associations and nursing organizations at educational facilities, independent healthcare companies, and healthcare institutions. Each of these groups does its part to demonstrate appreciation for the contributions nurses make to the community.


National Nurses Week was first observed in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. May 6 was introduced as the date for the observance in 1982.

The permanent dates of May 6 through May 12 were selected to facilitate planning of this annual celebration, as well as to position National Nurses Week as an established event.

During this week, special days are celebrated. Since 1998, May 8 has been designated as National Student Nurses Day and, as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday of National Nurses Week each year (May 11 for 2016). Additionally, International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide on May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, which also happens to be the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

2016 Theme

The theme for the 2016 National Nurses Week is “Culture of Safety: It Starts With You.” This theme aligns with the ANA’s focus for this year, which is “Culture of Safety” with a tagline of “Safety 360 — Taking Responsibility Together.”

The Delaware Nurses Association (DNA) website lists some of the key messages surrounding this theme:

  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Nurses have a critical responsibility to uphold the highest level of quality and standards in their practice, including fostering a safe work environment.
  • A culture of safety is one where nurses feel supported, listened to, and understood. It fosters transparency, accountability, and results.
  • National Nurses Week celebrates the contributions nurses make every day in striving for positive changes for their patients.
  • The public should recognize nurses for upholding high ethical standards.

Be proud and celebrate your contributions to the nursing profession!

Join the American Nurses Association (ANA) during this special week to recognize the invaluable work that you and your colleagues do every day, and participate in some of the events taking place in your area.

For additional information on National Nurses Week, visit the American Nurses Association website.

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