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International Nurses Day 2020: May 12

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International Nurses Day 2020International Nurses Day (IND) is an international event observed every year on May 12 globally to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. She was also known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’. This year the day marks the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

Theme for the year 2020: Nurses: A voice to lead- Nursing the World to Health.

The theme demonstrates how nurses are central to address a wide range of health challenges.

Key Points:

i.History of the day: The day was first observed in 1965 by International Council of Nurses (ICN), after an officer with the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare Dorothy Sutherland proposed Nurses Day in 1953 and was first declared by President Dwight D Eisenhower.

ii.In January 1974, May 12 was chosen to celebrate the day. Each year, ICN prepares and distributes the International Nurses Day Kit. The kit contains educational and public information materials, for use by nurses everywhere.

iii.WHO (World Health Organization) designated the year 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and Midwife”.

iv.In April 2020, WHO & partners launched the first-ever State of the Worlds’ Nursing Report, which provides a snapshot of the global nursing workforce as well as highlights the scale of the challenge we face and provides feasible policies for governments  to invest in nursing so that Health for All can become a reality.

v.Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers, yet there is an urgent shortage of nurses worldwide with 5.9 million more nurses still needed, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

vi.The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the vital role nurses play. Without nurses and other health workers, we will not win the battle against outbreaks, we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or universal health coverage.

vii.About Florence Nightingale: Nightingale was a British social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She was a famous manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War.

viii.In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, and is now part of King’s College London.

ix.The Florence Nightingale Medal is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve.

About International Council of Nurses (ICN):
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland.
President– Annette Kennedy.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Howard Catton.