International Nurses Day 2024: Why We Celebrate International Nurses Day

To help spread awareness and recognition for the amazing work of nurses in the UK and internationally, we have put together some information on why we celebrate International Nurses Day and how you can get involved! 

International Nurses Day 2024 is an annual global celebration that acknowledges and celebrates the bravery and commitment of nurses worldwide. While many different countries celebrate this occasion in their own ways, each year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) helps to coordinate and organise the event with its own theme. 

When is International Nurses Day? 

The first International Nurses Day took place on 12th May 1974 and continues to occur yearly. This date is the birth date of well-known nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing who became prominent while working as a nurse during the Crimean War in the 1800s. 

What is the theme for International Nurses Day 2024? 

When coordinating the event, the ICN picks a theme for the day of celebration to bring awareness and attention to a particular area or issue for nurses worldwide. The theme for International Nurses Day 2024 is… 

Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care.” 

This theme sets out how and what the ICN wants for the future of nursing and how it can address global health challenges and improve the health of everyone around the world. It encourages medical institutions to learn from the lessons that the global pandemic taught us and turn these teachings into actions for a brighter future.  

Why do we celebrate International Nurses Day?

International Nurses Day is all about acknowledging and celebrating the hard work of nurses around the world. The ICN aims to support nurses and looks at ways this commemorative day can help strengthen health systems and improve global health. They also distribute the International Nurses’ Day Kit, which contains valuable information and materials that nurses can use all over the globe. 

Why is May 12th International Nurses Day?

International Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12 every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing. This day is a tribute to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of nurses to the healthcare industry worldwide. It serves as a reminder of nurses’ crucial role in promoting health, preventing diseases, and providing care to patients.

The Impact of Florence Nightingale

During the Crimean War, she identified the critical need for proper medical sanitation, which was causing more deaths than battle wounds. Nightingale’s efforts in improving medical care, advocating for nurse training, and her compassionate care, including writing letters for incapacitated soldiers, laid the groundwork for modern nursing. Her dedication continues to inspire nurses worldwide, making International Nurses Day a tribute to the enduring impact of nurses in healthcare.

How to celebrate International Nurses Day

Whether you work in the healthcare sector or not, there are lots of ways that you can get involved with International Nurses Day and celebrate the nursing profession.

In the UK, there is an annual service in Westminster Abbey where a symbolic lamp is passed between nurses. Once the lamp reaches the Nurses’ Chapel, it is placed on the High Alter. This service symbolises the passing of knowledge between nurses throughout the profession. 

If you work in a healthcare setting, you can celebrate International Nurses Day by taking some cakes to work for nurses to enjoy. Or do you know a nurse personally? If you’re able to, you could help them out. You could treat them to flowers or surprise them with a home-cooked dinner. Remember that any gesture of kindness will remind them how appreciated they are. 

And if nothing else, we’d recommend marking the occasion by wishing Happy International Nurses Day to any nurse you know on 12th May!