Celebrating Nurses This May

Older women and a care worker embracing

Recognizing Your Nursing Care Employees

Why May Is a Month of Celebration for Our Nursing Professionals

We celebrate the service and impact of our nursing professionals every single day. However, during the month of May, all senior care and health care organizations should take note: May offers many specific dates to formally recognize our nursing professionals. 

Keep these dates in mind:

National Nurses Day – May 6, 2021
Since 1982, May 6 has marked a day of observance for nursing professionals.

National Nurses Week – May 6–12, 2021
National Nurses Day kicks off a full week of recognition during National Nurses Week.

International Nurses Day – May 12, 2021
This day of recognition is celebrated around the world on the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

National Skilled Nursing Care Week – May 9–15, 2021
The American Health Care Association has announced the theme of, “Together through the seasons,” for this year’s National Skilled Nursing Care Week, honoring the “collaborative commitment of skilled nursing care facilities and their staff in providing compassionate care to their residents during this unprecedented time.”


The Legacy of Florence Nightingale

Many refer to Florence Nightingale, an English nurse, as the founder of professional nursing. She was known as the “Lady with the Lamp,” during the Crimean War as she made the rounds each evening to check on her patients. National Nurses Week always ends on May 12 in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, and the first celebration of National Nurses Week occurred in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of her service in Crimea.


Ways to Recognize and Celebrate Nurses

The simplest way to celebrate any of these holidays is to show your personal appreciation and recognition to a nurse who has made a difference in your life. You could send a small gift or flowers, but a simple note or card expressing your gratitude can have a big impact.

Administrators can also practice nurse recognition in a variety of ways:

  • Host a virtual awards ceremony if a safe in-person gathering is not possible.
  • Give nurses a platform to celebrate each other, sharing stories and ways in which individual nurses have made a difference for their patients or residents.
  • Write a handwritten letter to each nurse on your staff, offering personalized appreciation for their unique talents and efforts.