Every year National Nurses Week begins on May 6th, RN Recognition Day, and ends on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12, and as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week. There are over 3.1 million RNs in America and we are thankful for their dedication, caring and hard work. The American Nurses Association official theme for 2014 is “Nurses: Leading The Way”.
Nursing is sometimes referred to as the oldest known profession. The home was the center of health care and all nursing was “home” nursing until the Civil War gave an enormous impetus to the building of hospitals and the development of nursing as a credentialed profession. In 1892, Congress passed a bill providing pensions to Civil War nurses. This period served as the beginning of moving the profession from the home to the hospital and clinic. and resulted in an explosion of nursing schools which were closely associated with a hospital. The nurses usually lived and worked at the hospital.
Linda Richards is known as America’s first professionally trained nurse, having trained in 1872 in Boston at the “Nurses Training School” affiliated with the New England Hospital for Women and Children. She described her training: “We rose at 5:30 am and left the wards at 9pm to go to our beds, which were in little rooms between the wards. Each nurse took care of her ward of six patients both day and night. Many a time I got up nine times in the night; often I did not get to sleep before the next call came. We had no evenings out, and no hours for study or recreation. Every second week we were off duty one afternoon from two to five o’clock”.
The need for Nurses rose dramatically during the next decades and during some periods, the number of nurses available did not meet the growing demand for professional and quality nursing care. The early Nurses would scarcely recognize Nursing as it is today. Increasing technology has required Nurses to assist in new and innovative ways. The most recent trend has been back to the beginning roots, “home” nursing.
We would like to let all our nation's Caregivers know, we honor, salute and thank you!
Contributed by Sharon Billedeau, Administrator, Winter Park
References: Wikipedia, National Women’s History Museum, www.life123
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