International Nurse’s Day observed on May 12

International Nurses Day was observed globally on 12 May 2019. It is celebrated every year on birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the foundational philosopher of modern nursing.

About International Nurses Day

  • Background: The first proposal for Nurses Day was made in 1953, by an officer with US Department of Health, Education and Welfare Dorothy Sutherland and first proclaimed by President Dwight D Eisenhower. In 1965, it was first celebrated by the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Later, in 1974 ICN established 12 May as International Nurses Day, to be celebrated every year to highlight important role played by nurses in providing best healthcare services.
  • Aim: It is celebrated to honour, contributions made by nurses in societies around the world.
  • Organised: It is organised each year by the International Council of Nurses, which is group of more than 130 national nurses associations, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Role played by Nurses: IND acknowledges various roles played by nurses which includes providing and managing personal care and treatment, working with families and communities, & playing a central part in public health & controlling disease & infection.
  • Theme for International Nurses Day 2019 was “Nurses – A Voice to Lead – Health for All”. This year the Nurses Day coincided with Mother’s Day.

About Florence Nightingale

  • She was a British national and born on 12 May in 1820.
  • She was a reforming spirit in nursing who organised nursing for wounded and sick soldiers, at the same time served as manager and trainer of other nurses during Crimean War in 1850s.
  • She is also known as ‘Lady with the Lamp’. Moreover, her far-sighted ideas and reforms have greatly influenced modern healthcare.


  • She established ‘Nightingale Training School’ at St Thomas’ Hospital. It was first professional training school for nurses.
  • She established ‘School of Midwifery nursing’ at King’s College Hospital because she believed that specialist midwifery nurses are needed. This later became a model for the country.
  • She has published more than 200 books, reports and pamphlets on hospital organization and planning. These are widely read and respected even today.
  • She is credited for inventing the pie chart and later on became first woman to be elected to Royal Statistical Society (RSS).
  • In 1909, she received ‘Freedom of the City of London’ award, and became first woman to whom it was awarded.


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