Why is International Nurses Day Celebrated Every Year on 12th May?

It is a day that celebrates all the nurses around the world to acknowledge their contributions to society on every 12th of May that is the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale who was the founder of modern nursing. The theme for the year 2021 is Nurses – A Voice to Lead: A Vision for Future Healthcare.  

Nurses are the heart of the healthcare industry. They are the first ones who literally open the eye of the newborn and gently closes the eye of the dying man. It is indeed a blessing to be the first and last to see the beginning and the end of life. The international council of nurses has celebrated this day since 1965. Annette Kennedy the president of ICN has said- “The global pandemic has shown the world the important role that nurses play in maintaining the people’s health and lifestyle. 

In 2021, the focus of this day will be on the changes and innovations made in nursing and how this will shape the future of the healthcare industry. On the one hand, in this pandemic where all the front-line warriors including Nurses are working 24*7 to provide the best healthcare facilities to the patients,  on other hand, it has opened an opportunity for others to “call for a rest” and explore new methods or models of care. During times of need, they’re the first ones to assist in health care, make a proper schedule, check regular diagnosis, provide care, and respectful treatment even at the time of pandemic or epidemic. Their sacrifices and determination towards work have always been appreciated and acknowledged. 

Who was Florence Nightingale?

Florence Nightingale was the founder of the modern nursing profession, her contribution to the Crimean War in which she looked after and cared for the wounded soldiers. Nightingale became an icon of Victorian Culture and gave nursing a flattering reputation. She was portrayed as “The Lady with the Lamp” who makes rounds of wounded soldiers at night. The Florence Nightingale Medal which is the highest international distinction is named after her honor. She is the one who laid the foundation of professional nursing and established the first nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital in London. Her social reformer activities included improving healthcare for British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, female participation in the workforce, and helped in abolishing prostitution laws.

Why do We Celebrate Nurse Day?

The main motto to celebrate Nurse Day is to pay respect and be thankful for the contribution of the nurses in providing selfless healthcare. They are not only in hospitals but they also reach communities to keep people worldwide happy and healthy. This is the perfect day to show or appreciate their work. 

Below we have given more reasons for celebrating this day such as:

  • Nurses around the world should be trained and provided with the proper guidance and keep them up-to-date with the knowledge and the requirements of the health sector.
  • Since they are indispensable for the healthcare sector thus their mental health is equally important. Giving them a break and an environment where they can feel free to express their feelings.
  • So, the day is organized to understand their importance in society and provide them with accurate sick leaves along with good working conditions.
  • Respect each healthcare worker and provide them with adequate financial assistance.
  • Motivates the young generation and aware them of the nursing profession and instills them with the skills like patience, empathy, communication, time management and contributes to a better version of society. 

Why Should We Love International Nurse Day?

  • Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry – Undoubtedly, doctors are the most important factor in healthcare services but they may prescribe our medicines, do surgeries, but they are incomplete without nurses. Nurses are always there even when doctors are not available, they administer the overall growth, listen to their patient’s problems patiently, and keep an eye or regular checkup on them.
  • Most trusted profession – Many people think that nurses have very high ethical standards and they can be trusted as they know all your vulnerabilities, and have seen you in the worst cases. You can trust them fully and blindly. They are there even when your family members are not around you.
  • Always on-duty – They always advise you in their best knowledge even when they are on leave. It’s in their nature to care about people and always up for medical advice and provide medication.


This year ICN will be distributing the international nurses day kit having educational and public information materials. There are many ways to appreciate the work of nurses such as by giving them e-card if you were their patients, gift or call them to say thank you in your own way!! So, what’s your way of saying thank you to all the nurses on this international nurse day?