What is Nurses Week and When Does it Occur in 2024?

Submitted by admin on Thu, 04/11/2024 - 17:24
A sign that says "Thank You Nurses"

Nurses have a positive impact on individuals, families, and entire communities, and they continue to make significant contributions to human flourishing through their dedication and bravery. Every year, the 5 million registered nurses (RNs) in the United States offer care and compassion as they educate patients and help manage health conditions. The public even votes for nurses to be the most trusted profession—a trend that has continued for decades. 

This work deserves to be recognized and celebrated in a highly visible way. That’s why the International Council of Nurses established International Nurses Day over 50 years ago. And since one day is not enough, this effort has evolved into a month-long celebration of the nursing profession that lasts throughout May. 

National Nurses Week and National Nurses Month are about pooling our efforts to make nurses feel valued and recognized the way they should. Since nurses are worth celebrating, let’s look at how we can recognize them in a way they will appreciate. 


What is Nurses Week and National Nurses Month? 

In 1990, the American Nursing Association (ANA) decided that a single day wasn’t long enough to recognize nurses appropriately. The ANA successfully lobbied to have the day extended to a week. The first National Nurses Week was celebrated in 1991, and it became an annual celebration a few years later.

In 2020, communities saw firsthand the selflessness and bravery of millions of nurses who served patients during the COVID–19 pandemic. Since then, the whole month of May has become a time to recognize, uplift, and thank nurses as part of National Nurses Month. 


When is Nurses Week in 2024? 

This year, National Nurses Week will be celebrated from May 6 through May 12. The 2024 theme for the week is “Nurses Make the Difference” acknowledging the incredible ways that nurses act as leaders, advocates, and changemakers in their communities. 

There are a few additional days of special recognition within Nurses Week. 

  • In 2024, National School Nurses Day and National Student Nurses Day will both fall on Wednesday, May 8. 
  • National Nurses Day is observed on the final day of Nurses Week, May 12, which is also Florence Nightingale’s birthday.


How to celebrate nurses in your life 

There’s no way to recognize nurses to the full extent that they deserve. Still, it’s worth making an effort to show gratitude for the field of nursing and the contributions of individual nurses—and National Nurses Week is a great time to do it. 

Ideas for celebrating nurses include: 

  • Share on social media. You can do this easily through the library of the assets available through the American Nurses Association. There are a host of pre-made graphics and posts that you can easily download and share to say thank you! Add the hashtag #thankanurse to make it official. 
  • Thank a nurse personally. If there is a nurse who has made an impact on your life, let them know! A handwritten thank you note is always appreciated. If you don’t have much time, a simple text that says “I just want to say thank you for doing what you do” is sincere and effective. If you want to thank a group of nurses for the care that you or a loved one received, write a letter to their workplace and address it to the Office Manager or Chief Nursing Officer. 
  • Create goodie bags or order a food delivery to drop off at your local hospital. You don’t have to be in the hospital or know someone who is to say thank you to the nurses working there. Dedicated teams of nurses show up at ICUs, ERs, maternity wards, and more hospital specialty units and give their best every time they are at work. You can choose a floor or ward in the hospital and call ahead to see if a couple of dozen cookies, a catering order that covers lunch, or several small gift cards to a coffee shop would be appreciated. If you mention that you’re gifting a meal or basket of treats to nurses, some restaurants and bakeries may even offer you a discount. 
  • Educate yourself on nursing innovators. Getting curious about the nursing field is a way to appreciate and support nurses working today! Since this year’s theme is “Nurses Make the Difference,” you might want to start by reading up on some of the nurses who have shaped the practice of modern medicine. Florence Nightingale is a fascinating person to learn about, but so are Luther Christman, Dorothea Dix, and Clara Barton—just to name a few. 
  • Donate to support mental health and other nurse initiatives. Consider giving to a nurse-centric charity, such as the American Nurses Foundation, to celebrate National Nurses Week. Nonprofits that support efforts to prevent nurse burnout, address mental health challenges specific to nurses, and fight for equity and better working conditions for all nurses are making a difference in shaping the field.

Why consider changing careers to nursing? 

While learning about nurses, thanking nurses, and celebrating nurses this month, you may be wondering if a second career in nursing would be a good fit for you. And if you love helping people, finding purpose in your work, and are looking for a stable, in-demand field, it’s worth exploring that question further. 

Future nurses can leverage the education they already have to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing on an accelerated schedule, also known as an ABSN. These programs are robust, challenging, and enriching—and typically take 2 years or less for full-time students. 

Take the first step toward becoming a nurse today. Input your zip code below to see what accelerated BSN programs are available in your area.