International Nurses Day is celebrated on May 12. This day marks the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, who is hailed as the founder of modern nursing. This year the theme for International Nurses Day is “A Voice to Lead—Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health.”
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”; but he did not approve it.
In January 1974, 12 May was chosen to celebrate the day as it is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, 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. As of 1998, 8 May was designated as annual National Student Nurses’ Day.