International Nurses Day is observed on May 12 every year. On that day in 1820, Florence Nightingale - perhaps the world's most famous nurse - was born. She was an English nurse, a social reformer and a statistician who founded the key pillars of modern nursing.International Nurses Day, amid the horrific coronavirus pandemic, assumes great significance. Nurses are the backbone of the hospitals and clinics taking care of the millions of COVID-19 patients for months putting their lives at risk. International Nurses Day is a great opportunity to express our deep gratitude for them. According to the ICN (International Council of Nurses), as of 31 December 2020, more than 1.6 million healthcare workers in 34 countries have been infected by COVID-19. The ICN's key pillars are: Professional practice, Regulation, and Socio-economic welfare.
History of International Nurses Day
Known as the Lady with the Lamp, Florence Nightingale the founder of modern nursing, started work as a nursing in-charge of the British and allied soldiers, wounded during the Crimean War. Florence Nightingale spent most of her time caring and comforting the injured - often late into the night. She was the first to establish formal training for nurses. The first nursing school - the Nightingale School of Nursing - was inaugurated in London in 1860. Florence Nightingale was a key figure behind setting up a training school for midwives as well. She was the first woman who was awarded the Order of Merit 1907.
Significance of International Nurses Day
Nurses are at the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Like doctors and other healthcare workers, nurses are continuously providing high quality care often working without a break. Nurses are often the only health professionals that people see in a crisis situation. According to the WHO, ''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 (2020) more nurses still needed, especially in low and middle income countries."