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International Nurses Day 2024 – May 12

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International Nurses Day - May 12 2024International Nurses Day (IND) is annually observed across the globe on 12th May to honour the contributions of nurses to society and recognise their role in the overall healthcare system.

  • IND commemorates the birth anniversary of a English nurse, social reformer, and statistician Florence Nightingale (also known as the founder of modern nursing).
  • The annual observance of IND is led by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) which produces and distributes the resources and evidence of the IND.


i.The theme of International Nurses Day 2024 is “Our Nurses. Our Future. The economic power of care”.

ii.IND 2024 aims to reshape perceptions, demonstrating how strategic investment in nursing can bring considerable economic and societal benefits.


i.In 1953,Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the United States (US) Department of Health, Education and Welfare, proposed to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States of America (USA) to declare “Nurses Day”.

ii.International Council of Nurses (ICN) has been celebrating the International Nurses Day since 1965.

iii.In January 1974, ICN proclaimed the 12th May of every year as the International Nurse Day.  The date was chosen to mark the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

About Florence Nightingale:

i.Florence Nightingale was born on 12th May 1820 in Florence, Italy. She was popularly known as ‘the Lady with the Lamp.’

ii.She has greatly improved the care of sick and dying soldiers during the Crimean War (1853).

iii.She set up the world’s first professional nursing school, the Nightingale Training School and Home for Nurses at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, the United Kingdom (UK) in 1860.

iv.In 1870, she supported the foundation of the British Red Cross, advising on nursing and running hospitals. She was also a member of its Ladies’ Committee.

v.In 1907, Nightingale became the 1st woman to receive the Order of Merit from Edward VII, the UK’s highest civilian decoration.

v.She passed away on 13 August 1910, at her home in London, UK.

Note: In 1912, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) established the Florence Nightingale Medal to recognise exceptional courage, devotion, and pioneering spirit in nursing.

IND Annual Report:

i.ICN launched the 2024 International Nurses Day report, Our Nurses, Our Future – The Economic Power of Care, focusing on The Economic Power of Care ahead of the global celebrations of IND 2024.

ii.The report gathers evidence from academics, economists, and nursing experts, showing how nursing contributes to global economic growth with adequate investment.

Key Findings:

i.Poor health costs the global economy 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), linking inadequate healthcare to economic prosperity.

ii.Effective Universal Health Coverage (UHC) could save 60 million lives and add 3.7 years to life expectancy by 2030, requiring significant nursing investment.

iii.Achieving UHC goals necessitates increasing the nursing workforce to 70 nurses per 10,000 population.

iv.Having a healthy population by investing in nursing and health care could boost global GDP by USD 12 trillion or 8%.

Key Facts:

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nurses constitute the largest group of health workers in the WHO South-East Asia Region, with 9 out of 10 being women.

  • Over 2.7 million out of 3 million nurses are women in the region who contribute to health promotion and education.

2024 Events:

A webinar for IND 2024 was organised on 10 May 2024. It was chaired by ICN President Pamela Cipriano and served as the launch event for 2024’s IND publication: “Our Nurses, Our Future: The Economic Power of Care.”

About International Council of Nurses (ICN):
ICN is the world’s first and widest-reaching international organisation for health professionals.
President– Dr Pamela Cipriano
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland
Founded in– 1899