Every year a week is set aside to celebrate our unsung heroes in the healthcare profession, including nurses who work in our hospitals, care homes, clinics, and other facilities. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Nurses Week has even more significance, as our nurses are often out on the front lines and it can take a heavy emotional and physical toll.

How It All Began

When Nurses Week began, COVID-19 wasn’t on anyone’s radar. It was first celebrated in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Despite her upper-class birth, she rejected life as a wealthy wife, pursuing her calling to treat the injured and ill instead. During the war, she and a team of nurses worked to improve the unsanitary conditions at a British hospital and managed to reduce the death count dramatically. Her writings are what sparked healthcare reform around the world. She eventually founded the Nightingale Training School and became the first recipient of the Royal Red Cross in 1883. Today, she’s widely regarded to be the founder of modern nursing.

Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820. Nurses Week begins every year on May 6th and runs through May 12th, her birthday. It didn’t become nationally recognized until the proclamation of National Nurses Day by then President Reagan on May 6, 1982. Eight years later it was expanded to a full week.

The Celebration Continues

Today, the commitment that our LPNs, RNs, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers make to protect, promote, and improve care for all is well-recognized. Here at Medical Staffing Options, we think it’s important to treat our travel nurses like the superheroes they are throughout the year. If you’re one of our healthcare travelers, you’re well aware of the benefits. And if you aren’t, you’ll want to know that MSO rewards your dedication professionally through high-paying assignments, and personally, by providing platinum benefits and paying compliance expenses upfront. We don’t just say we care – we back it up with action. 

There are many ways that Nurses Week is celebrated. Hospitals, physician’s offices, clinics, and other nursing settings find their own creative ways to thank a nurse, from hosting lunches and ice cream socials to flower deliveries. Just about everyone has known the kindness and healing touch of a nurse, which means people of all types can get involved by taking a moment to write about a nurse that has inspired them, even if you are one. You can share the post on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #NursesWeek2021. Those words of encouragement can go a long way for a travel nurse, or any other type of nurse working long hours, with the knowledge that they’re appreciated. 

Honoring Yourself and the Profession

It’s important to honor yourself as a nurse too. The importance of your job can never be overstated. Those who join the profession sign on to care for people in some of life’s most difficult situations, playing an integral role in society. Perhaps you can spend time on a beach, take a stroll through nature, indulge in a spa treatment, or simply read a good book. 

You might honor the profession as well. Think about why you love your job. If you’re a travel nurse, perhaps it’s the reward of helping your patients, along with the great pay, flexibility, and opportunities to explore many different areas of the country while advancing your career in the process. Get excited about what you do, and you may be able to inspire others to consider the field too.