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Wednesday, 12 May 2021 12:48

International Nurses Day 2021: History, theme, significance and quotes.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Every year we observe May 12 as International Nurses Day along with the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. International Nurses Day is observed to honour nurses every year on May 12. Nurses are essential caretakers for a prosperous society. During this pandemic, their extraordinary contribution has proved to inspire their dedication and hard work towards nursing.

History of International Nurses Day

The celebration of International Nurses Day started in 1965 by the International Council of Nurses(ICN). This day is the birth anniversary of the famous Florence Nightingale. She was an English nurse, social reformer, and statistician. During the Crimean war, she gained fame while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses, being the pillar of modern nursing. She brought a reputation for nursing and became an icon in Victorian culture.

This day was initially proposed by Dorothy Sutherland, an official with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, but it was not approved. Finally, after 20 years, May 12 was chosen as the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. Since then, the International Council of Nurses(ICN) has been producing and distributing resources and evidence on International Nurses ‘Day.

The theme of International Nurses Day 2021

The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is Nurses: A Voice to Lead-A Vision for Future Healthcare. Like doctors and other health care workers, nurses are at the forefront of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Significance of International Nurses Day

Nurses have always played a crucial role in recovery and wellbeing for people across the globe. But they hardly receive any respect that they deserve. So this day is dedicated to honour them the respect they deserve.

This pandemic situation has a greater significance of International Nurses day than ever. Nurses are continuously providing service to the patients, being the backbone of the healthcare system in hospitals. Their diversified role is to carry out several tasks at the workplace.

Quotes on International Nurses Day

  • "And what nursing has to do in either case is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.” -Florence Nightingale
  • "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others"-Mahatma Gandhi
  • "The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses"-Carolyn Jarvis
  • Nurses dispense care with comfort, compassion, and care without even a prescription.
  • Nurse: just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand anyone.
  • "Every nurse was drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, to serve, or to help" -Christina Feist-Heilmeier, RN
  • "Nurses are there when the last breath is taken, and nurses are there when the first breath is taken. Although it is more enjoyable to celebrate birth, it is just as important to comfort in death."-Christine Bell
  • Care for one that's love. Care for hundreds. That's nursing.
  • The doctors may be mapping out the war games, but it is the nurses who make the conflict bearable."Jodi Picoult
  • "As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul, and body of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel." —Maya Angelou.


• Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Guidelines

• WHO guidebook for Support for Rehabilitation Self-Management after COVID19- Related Illness

• US- Centre for disease Control (CDC).