International Nurses Day 2015

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An important sector of health services is nursing and the International Nurses Day (IND) aims at celebrating and acknowledging the contribution made by nurses to society. The importance of nurses and the service they do to society is rarely recognized. They are often mere shadows to doctors, and a patient rarely remembers the name or face of a nurse after treatment is completed. However, with their constant care, kindness, knowledge and dedication, it is a nurse who truly helps a patient to recover. This is why a day has been dedicated for nurses, to appreciate the service they do.

Looking at the history of the profession, nuns were at first entrusted with nursing. This is believed to be the reason for the very first habit-like nurses’ uniforms. With the emergence of wars, nurses were also needed to treat wounded soldiers. Nursing is often seen as a job for women, although male nurses are slowly becoming a common sight today.

Even though they rarely enjoy a spot in the limelight, the names of certain nurses have gone down in history. Florence Nightingale is a well-known name not only in the world of nursing. Known as the pioneer of modern nursing, Nightingale was dubbed ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ due to her habit of making rounds at night. Another prominent nurse is the founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton.

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy on  May 12, 1820. Her father was a wealthy landowner. She was brought up in Derbyshire (where she spent her summers) and Hampshire ( where she spent her winters).

Rich English girls such as Florence were expected to do - almost nothing. Florence couldn't bear the boredom of it. Instead she became interested in hospitals and by 1853 was running a hospital in London.

Florence was very dedicated to her job. She would often visit the soldiers at night when everyone was asleep just to make sure they were ok. She was then referred to as “The Lady of the Lamp” because she hardly took time off to sleep. Florence became a true hero to the soldiers and everyone back home in England.

Florence Nightingale was truly inspirational and changed the face of nursing from a mostly untrained profession to a highly skilled and well-respected medical profession with very important responsibilities.

International Nurses Day is celebrated worldwide at the beginning of May and centers on a specific theme. The anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth which falls on May 12 is when IND is usually celebrated.

The IND theme for 2015 is: Nurses: A Force for Change: Care Effective, Cost Effective. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) has celebrated this day since 1965. In 1953 Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, proposed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaim a "Nurses' Day"; he did not approve it. In January 1974, May 12 was chosen to celebrate the day as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered the founder of modern nursing. Each year, ICN prepares and distributes the International Nurses' Day Kit. The kit contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere.

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