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International Nurses Day 2022: Why is the day marked on Florence Nightingale’s birth anniversary?

Around the world, International Nurses Day is observed on 12 May to appreciate the extraordinary contribution of nurses. Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare sector and have been at the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

Since the pandemic hit the world, the immense contribution of these healthcare workers has proved invaluable to the medical community. This special day is marked on the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

Theme 2022:

The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is "Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health."

Why Florence Nightingale’s birth anniversary is celebrated as International Nurses Day?

Florence Nightingale was an English nurse, a social reformer and statistician who initiated the key pillars of modern nursing. Born on 12 May 1820, she started working as a nurse in charge of the wounded British and allied soldiers  during the Crimean War (1853-56). Known as the Lady with the Lamp, Nightingale spent most of her time comforting and caring for the injured. She also gained fame as a trainer of nurses and manager of modern nursing.

The Nightingale School of Nursing - the first nursing school was inaugurated in London in 1860. Nightingale was the main figure behind setting up a training school for midwives as well. Later on, in 1907, she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) started the celebration of International Nurses Day in the year 1965. The day was originally planned by Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare After decades of resistance, the day was approved. Since then, the ICN has been marking International Nurses Day by distributing resources and organising events so that nurses can get the respect they deserve.

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