International Nurses Day: History And Significance

Nurses are at the frontline of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic today. They are the lifeline of the healthcare industry who have been putting their lives on the line for months

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Nurses are at the frontline of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic today. Pixabay

By- Khushi Bisht

The International Nurses Day is observed on May 12th every year worldwide to honor the contributions of nurses. The International Council of Nurses first commemorated the day in 1965. The 12th of May was formally proclaimed as ‘International Nurses Day’ in January 1974 as this day also commemorates the birth of a British nurse named Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing who is often recognized as “The Lady With the Lamp.” 

Florence Nightingale, widely considered to be the world’s most famous nurse was born on May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy. She was involved in philanthropic work since she was a child. By the age of 16, she knew she wanted to be a nurse. She considered it to be pious work.

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Florence Nightingale. Wikimedia Commons

Nightingale belonged to a well-to-do British family and her parents were not delighted when she told them of her dream of becoming a nurse.  They asked her to marry a wealthy man rather than taking a position that the elites considered of low status. But she was so willing to fulfill her dream that in 1844, she embarked on a journey to be a nurse. She registered as a student nurse at the Lutheran Hospital of Pastor Fliedner in Kaiserwerth, Germany. And began working as a nurse in a Middlesex Hospital, London in the early 1850s.

During the cholera epidemic, she declared it her task to enhance and strengthen sanitation standards, which resulted in a substantial reduction in-hospital mortality rate. Her effectiveness was so impressive that she was promoted to supervisor after only a year on the job. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, her attempts to improve healthcare had a major impact on the standards of treatment and care.

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Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing who is often recognized as “The Lady With the Lamp.” Wikimedia Commons

Nightingale rose to fame as a result of her outstanding efforts during the Crimean War. Her achievements during the catastrophic years the British military spent in Crimea were mainly due to her concerns for hygiene and its connection to death, as well as her leadership, discipline, and determination to get things accomplished. Most of Florence’s time was spent treating and comforting the sick and wounded.

In 1860, Florence founded the first nursing school in the world, named “the Nightingale School of Nursing.” She rose to fame as a public personality and became a role model for young women worldwide. Nursing became a noble and respectful profession as a result of her contributions. Nightingale is particularly notable for her intellect, resilience, and incredible work ethic. She is widely regarded and admired as the mother of modern nursing to this day.

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Florence Nightingale, College of Nursing, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Wikimedia Commons

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Nurses are at the frontline of the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic today. They are the lifeline of the healthcare industry who have been putting their lives on the line for months. Despite accounting for more than half of all health staff, WHO reports that there is a critical lack of nurses globally. In light of this, International Nurses Day takes on added importance as a way to show our love and respect to nurses and other healthcare assistants all over the globe.