When is International Nurses Day 2022

May 12th has marked International Nurses Day every year since it was first celebrated back in 1965. The date was chosen as it’s the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The founder of modern nursing and healthcare legend changed the way we care for patients, revolutionised hospital hygiene and turned nursing into the respected profession it is today.

As well as being a fantastic opportunity to recognise the contributions Florence Nightingale made to medicine, International Nurses Day allows us to show our appreciation for the entire nursing profession. From nurses working in war zones and developing countries to those caring for the frail and vulnerable in local family clinics, nurses do invaluable work in healthcare settings around the world. If you’re a nurse, or just want to support those working in the vocation, celebrating this important day is a fantastic way to show you care.


Who Was Florence Nightingale?


International Nurses Day (IND) is held on May 12th because it’s Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Born to a wealthy English family in 1820, Nightingale developed strong humanitarian impulses, and a desire to serve others, when she was young. In 1854, when she heard news of the terrible conditions being experienced by injured British soldiers serving in the Crimean War, Nightingale volunteered to travel to the Ottoman Empire to help.

When she arrived at the Selimiye Barracks in Scutari, across the Black Sea from the Crimea, she found the military hospital was unsanitary, understaffed and poorly run.

During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died—ten times more from typhus, cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery than from battle wounds. Thanks to Nightingale’s pleas, the hospital was soon cleaned up and, within a few months, the fatality rate had dropped from 42.7% to just 2.2%.

As well as being a nurse, Nightingale was an accomplished mathematician, specialising in statistics. Elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society, she used her expertise to demonstrate just how dangerous poor hygiene, contaminated water and overcrowding could be. In her later career, she focused her attention on India, campaigning to improve conditions for both the British army and the local population.

In 1860, Florence Nightingale founded the first secular school of nursing in the world. Today, the school is part of King’s College London where it continues to train nursing students and produce world class professionals.


The Importance of International Nurses Day

Although they play an incredibly important role in health systems around the world, nurses are often under appreciated. International Nurses Day gives us all an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the hard work, sacrifice and dedication nurses put into caring for their patients.

This recognition is arguably even more important following the Covid-19 pandemic during which nurses went above and beyond to keep us safe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 80,000 and 180,000 health and care workers could have died from COVID-19 in the period between January 2020 to May 2021. Many of these healthcare workers would have been nurses working on the covid frontline.


What is the Theme of International Nurses Day 2022?

Every year, International Nurses Day is given a theme by the International Council of Nurses (ICN). This year, the ICN has chosen ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health. Events organised to celebrate the day will focus on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession in order to strengthen health systems around the world. 

The ICN believes that the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted weaknesses in global health caused by inequality and under investment. The nurses’ association says there’s an urgent need to invest in training and development in order to build a resilient, highly qualified workforce that will meet the needs of our communities both now and in the future. 

To help demonstrate just how hard nurses work, and how much many in the profession were affected by Covid-19, the ICN has put together a compilation of nurses’ stories about life during the pandemic. These stories come from all corners of the globe and showcase how nurses everywhere have worked tirelessly to protect their patients and provide the best level of care possible.

 Previous themes for International Nurses Day include ‘A Vision for Future Healthcare’, ‘Nursing the World to Health’, ‘Health for All’ and ‘Health is a Human Right’.


National Nurses Week 

International Nurses Day is the culmination of National Nurses Week, an event supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA). The week-long celebration was first suggested by Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare back in 1953. 

However, Eisenhower, then the president, never officially recognised the event and it wasn’t until 1974, over 20 years later, that the first National Nurse Week was celebrated. National Nurses Week begins every year on May 6th. Since 1997, May 8th has been designated National Student Nurses Day, giving our future healthcare workers the recognition they deserve.


International Nurses Day Events

There are lots of events happening across the country to celebrate the day. The Australian College of Nursing is organising a national nurses breakfast, a nurses walk and a series of talks. You can find out more about events happening near you by following local nursing organizations on social media. You can also download IND promotional tools and posters from the International Council of Nurses site.

To do our bit to support nurses in Australia and further afield, we stock a fantastic choice of nursing equipment including affordable student nursing kits, stethoscopes and nursing pouches. Explore our range today or get in touch with a member of our team to find out more.

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