BY ISABELLE BOUSQUETTE
National Nurses Week takes place from May 6 to May 12. It’s a week each year to honor the commitment, dedication and hard work of those in the nursing profession. This year, honoring our nurses is more important than ever. They are risking their lives on the front line every day, helping fight the coronavirus pandemic. The American Nurses Association and the World Health Organization have already declared 2020 to be the global “Year of the Nurse.” So this week, take a moment to celebrate nurses in Queens and around the world.
Looking for more ways to honor our healthcare workers during the crisis? Check out our list of face masks that give back to local communities.
History of National Nurses Week
We’ve celebrated National Nurses Week since 1954. The first National Nurses Week occurred in October and commemorated the hundredth anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s work in Crimea. Nightingale was a famous British nurse who fought to improve conditions for the sick and whose advocacy set the standard for modern nursing today. In 1854, she traveled to the frontline of the Crimean War where she selflessly tended to wounded soldiers.
In 1982, President Reagan declared May 6 National Recognition Day for Nurses. Then, in 1990, the American Nurses Association extended that day into a week of celebrations, culminating on Nightingale’s birthday on May 12.
How to Celebrate National Nurses Week
In the past, this has been a week to honor nurses with banquets, seminars and celebrations. Now, those types of gatherings are impossible at a moment when nurses are most in need of acknowledgement and encouragement. Still, there are other ways to celebrate National Nurses Week. Check them out below:
Since late March, Ruby’s Cafe has been bringing meals to nurses and doctors working long shifts. They are serving hospitals all over the city, but are struggling to meet demand. By donating to their GoFundMe page, you help them in their quest to provide healthcare workers with high-quality hot meals.
Pipeline Coffee in Long Island has decided to give back to their community with the #PoweredbyPipeline movement. They donate freshly brewed coffee to local doctors and nurses. They want to show their appreciation for “superheroes in scrubs” by “keeping their cups full and their spirits up.” You can contribute by donating to their Venmo (@pipeline-Rvc or @pipeline-wantagh).
Take a moment to write a social media post about a nurse who inspires you. You can share it on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, you can send it to the Australian College of Nursing’s virtual Inspiration Wall. They are collecting stories and shoutouts about nurses that have been important in people’s lives and using them to create one big wall of positivity.
For a small donation, New York Presbyterian will send a card on your behalf to a nurse at the hospital. You can direct your card to a specific nurse or to a team at the hospital. You can also add a personalized message to let NYC’s healthcare heroes know you’re thinking of them!
Florence Nightingale would’ve turned 200 this year! So to celebrate nurses around the world you are invited to join her Zoom birthday party on May 12. There are three separate parties to accommodate those in various time zones. Nurses will be able to meet others in their profession and share inspirational stories with each other about working during the COVID-19 crisis.