International Nurses Day 2020: Current Theme, History and Significance

International Nurses Day 2020: It is celebrated on 12 May to mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale and also to thanks the nurses for their tireless efforts and contributions.
May 12, 2020 01:18 IST
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International Nurses Day 2019: Health For All
International Nurses Day 2019: Health For All

International Nurses Day 2020: This day is to thank all nurses, their dedication, and work, especially during ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Nurses are indispensable in safeguarding public health. Let us read more about International Nurses Day, its theme, history and how is it celebrated.

Nurses play an essential role in our medical institutions such as giving safety or help in the recovery of patients etc. No doubt when some patient is in need of care then nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect the needs of the individual.

Nurses also have immense knowledge and have several skills that they spend in an organisation for perfection and development. Most of the time nurses work in tough environments where extreme stress is a part of their job.

“Nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription.”– Val Saintsbury

International Nurses Day 2020: Theme

The theme for 2020 is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health. The theme focuses on how nurses are playing a crucial role in addressing a wide range of health challenges. The day will encourage nurses and the public to celebrate the big day. It will also provide information and resources so that the profession will grow throughout the year and attract a new generation into the nursing family.

Let us tell you that the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. We can't ignore the courageous work of nurses and other health workers in fighting against coronavirus and also the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. 

The effort of the ICN is to bring the nursing community together during this unprecedented pandemic by sharing on this platform all the information and knowledge gathered by you, our member associations.

The theme for 2019 was "Health For All". And National Nurses Day 2019 theme is "Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit".

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International Nurses Day: History
In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, contacted President Dwight D. Eisenhower and proposed to celebrate "Nurses Day". At that time he did not approve her proposal. Since 1965, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated this day. In January 1974, 12 May was finally officially declared as ‘International Nurses Day’ because on this date Florence Nightingale was born, who is the founder of modern nursing. Every year on this day ICN prepare and distribute International Nurses Day Kit which consists of educational and public information materials which can be used by nurses among the public. Let us tell you that National Student Nurse's Day is celebrated on 8 May since 1998 and National Nurses week from 6 May to 12 May.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”– Mother Teresa

Who was Florence Nightingale?

Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May, 1820, Florence (Italy) and is known as the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. She is also famous as "The Lady with the Lamp". She was a British nurse, statistician and social reformer who was the founder philosopher of modern nursing. During the Crimean War, she was put in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers. She spends several hours in the wards and whole night she cared for patients, visited them, night rounds with a lamp in her hand and so an image was established as "Lady with the Lamp". Due to her efforts of formalising nursing education, the first scientifically based nursing school, the Nightingale School of Nursing, at St. Thoma's Hospital in London was opened in 1860. She was also instrumental in setting up training for midwives and nurses in workhouse infirmaries. Do you know that she was the first woman awarded the Order of Merit in 1907?

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How is International Nurses Day celebrated?

In the US and Canada, a whole week is celebrated as National Nursing Week. Even in Australia also varieties of nursing ceremonies are organised. This whole week health care services on the international level are targeted. Even American Nurses Association supports and encourages the celebration and work of the Nurses.

On the International Nurses Day in the UK, the public has been asked to “shine a light” on 12 May, 2020, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale birth. The way nurses and other health workers are tackling the coronavirus pandemic without thinking of their lives, therefore this year, the day is special and it is necessary to recognise the efforts of nursing professionals across the globe.

Several activities are also held like educational seminars, a variety of community events, debates, competitions, discussions etc. Also, nurses are honoured and appreciated by the friends, doctors, administrators and patients by distributing gifts, flowers, organising dinners etc.

International Nurses Day: Significance

In the whole world, we can't ignore the fact that nursing is the largest health care profession in the world and they are the key factors in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Several training modules are provided to the nurses for maintaining the health and wellness of the patients.
No doubt nurses have deep knowledge of delivering the best health care services. Do you know that National Nurses Associations (NNAs) play an important role in encouraging nurses, providing education, well informed, advised, so that they can deliver their work properly? Also, NNA works with governmental and non-governmental organisations to strengthen health care systems.

What is the International Council of Nurses (ICN)?

It is an organisation that operates nurses and leads nursing internationally. They ensure quality nursing care for all and sound health policies all around the world. Every year ICN chooses a theme to celebrate International Nurses Day. The resources and evidence deal with critical issues of the time and highlight the many ways in which nurses are making an impact.

So, we can say that International Nurses Day is celebrated across the world to raise awareness about nursing as a profession and also the contribution made by the nurses towards the health care regime. Nurses are the people who meet the local needs of the patients, who have proper knowledge about how to handle patient properly, to improve physical, mental well-being of the patients etc.

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