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International Nurses Day: Everything you need to know about this day in history

 International Nurses Day is aimed at appreciating and celebrating nurses worldwide (Image: Shutterstock)

It is no secret that nurses are the backbone of hospitals not to mention that they are the pioneers in patient care. They are the ones who hold fort and look after a patient once the doctors have made their diagnosis and moved along.

Nurses who take care of their patients and as their name suggests, nurse patients back to health by giving them medical attention and guiding them on how to regain their strength after an illness.  

And now, as the world faces a pandemic, like knights in shining armour, nurses are at the frontline risking their lives to ensure patients are tended to.

It is for this sacrifice and many others that on May 12 since 1974, nurses are celebrated for their contribution and sacrifice towards the healthcare system.

Why May 12?

On May 12 1820, Florence Nightingale was born, a pioneer who changed the face of patient care and founder of modern nursing.

She was an English nurse, a social reformer and a statistician who founded the key pillars of modern nursing.

Florence was the nurse in-charge tending to the British and allied soldiers wounded during the Crimean war. She would care and comfort the injured till late into the night.

And with that experience and more, she was the founder of the first nursing school-The Nightingale school of nursing inaugurated in London in 1860.

 Florence Nightingale born in 1820 was the founder of modern nursing (Image: Getty images)

For her great accomplishments and contributions, Florence was the first woman to receive the Order of Merit award in 1907.

Fast-forward to 1974 on May 12, this day was chosen to celebrate both the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale and mark the nurses’ day worldwide.

And every year, The International Council of Nurses prepares and distributes the International Nurses' Day Kit. The kit contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere.

The importance of International Nurses Day

Like doctors and other health workers, nurses have dedicated their lives to tirelessly help the sick especially now more than ever with Covid-19 holding the world hostage.

According to the International Council of Nurses, as of 31 December 2020, more than 1.6 million healthcare workers in 34 countries had been infected by COVID-19 but still they push on.

It is for this reason that nurses are appreciated for their tireless dedication and contribution to care for patients and the steadfast uphold of the healthcare system.

Even though nurses are at the frontline when it comes to handling medical crises, according to the World Health Organization, there is an urgent shortage of nurses worldwide with 5.9 million (2020) more nurses still needed, especially in low and middle income countries.

It is due to this healthcare burden, that the International Council of Nurses will highlight and focus on the future of nursing and innovation in 2021.

Next year’s campaign, ‘A Voice to Lead – A Vision for Future Healthcare’, looks to introduce new policies and technology in advancing nurses in preparation for the future.

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