International Nurses Day 2023: 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 2023 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 2023? 

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 2023 is… 

“Our Nurses. Our Future” 

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. 

The Impact of Florence Nightingale

International Nurses Day has remained a very popular event that continues to be celebrated worldwide every year. This is mainly because of the huge admiration that many of us have for the nursing profession. And in particular, the popularity of Florence Nightingale. The impact of Florence Nightingale can be seen today. Not only did the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ work as a nurse, but she also advocated for the nursing profession’s elevation through training. While working as a nurse during the Crimean war, she noticed that many soldiers were dying from poor sanitation in medical settings rather than battle injuries. 

She played a significant role in creating the nursing industry as we know it today and helped to improve sanitation. Despite the reluctance of army doctors to let nurses help during the Crimean War, alongside other nurses, she helped to improve medical arrangements and set up food kitchens, clean clothes, and linen. They would even write home for soldiers who were ill and unable. 

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! 

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