Memo From A Nurse : Why Is Nurses Week So Weak?

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

May 6-12 is when nurses are nationally recognized for their efforts during Nurses Week. It’s a celebration of all things nursing. During that week, you have National Nurses Day, Student Nurses Day, and School Nurses Day to recognize the individual efforts of these “types” of nurses. The week ends on May 12, the birthday of the founder and mother of the nursing profession, Florence Nightingale.

Everybody with me?

Until recently, I’ve always enjoyed Nurses Week. I usually got a cool trinket or gift from my employer, and my fellow nurses would joke about the one time of the year we nurses actually are noticed.

These days, it seems the only time of the year we DO get recognized is now being watered-down (and maybe even flushed away) next to another nationally recognized week–National Hospital Week. The only difference I see from year to year is that the actual dates for Hospital Week can differ slightly, while Nurses Week always starts and ends on the same dates!

I guess maybe that’s my problem. Why must another week-long national celebration trample on the toes of our celebration? (I kept getting circling results, so I gave up searching for some relevant history on National Hospital Week and the coinciding date.) Obviously, the celebration dates for National Nurses Week bear significance with one of its founding mothers.

In my opinion, nurses are getting shortchanged simply because most nurses work in hospitals, so it’s more convenient and cost-effective to celebrate both weeks jointly than to have two separate celebrations (it’s always about the money, you know).

Also, the health care personnel who are being recognized are equally shortchanged, because now they share their “week” with a much larger group of fellow health care professionals (nurses).

It’s become so common and convenient to lump them together that I found numerous articles that meshed this celebration into one singular event (I refrained from naming names here).

Deep breath.

Maybe I’m being selfish. Maybe I’m being obtuse. But the last time I checked, we nurses rarely, if ever, ask for recognition. And the one and only time the nation recognizes our sacrifices they decide to divvy up the recognition with another holiday?

What am I missing here?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. Completely agree!!! When reading this article I was thinking the same thing. Hospital week has stolen our thunder ?

  2. It’s funny I saw this article because I was thinking the same thing! I appreciate the extra meals or trinkets but don’t feel special or recognized as a nurse because it seems everyone is a nurse on nurse’s week. Those that also receive the meals or trinkets deemed for nurses are from registration, environmental, security, maintenance, techs, and the list goes on. So let’s just call it hospital week because that’s what it really is.

  3. At the nursing home I work at they celebrate nursing home week as it is the same as nurses week. The residents and staff have a different theme each day to wear outfits and eat a food item. The nurses get overlooked. Later in the year the stna’s have their very own day.

  4. I believe that as nurse’s we need to band together. We have a Nurse’s Day (which also is my birthday) and I think our employers should recognize the hard work and dedication we have for our profession. I feel no embarrassment in wanting to be recognized for my passion. I have been a nurse for over 33 years and deserve to be given a high five.

  5. Anyone who tells you that doctors run hospitals has never been in one. Yes, physicians bring patients, thus making the economic side of the hospital work, but nine times out of ten a nurse knows the patient is in trouble first, and must decide what steps to take next. I believe that nurses should have a day of “their” own to celebrate, as should physicians and all members of the healthcare team.

    At the same time, the idea that nurses only work in hospitals is sadly outdated. We work in telemedicine, home health care, hospice (those folks are saints). We also work as pharmaceutical reps, research assistants, teachers, and I’ve even used my nursing skills to help assemble a database of hospital equipment. And there are countless other situations where nurses use their time and their talents.

    I agree with Shirley’s comment. Until we see ourselves as members of ONE profession, regardless of where we work or how many people we supervise, the situation as it is has no impetus for change. So it won’t.

  6. As a nurse, this trivial need for a trinket and recognition embarrasses me. I wholeheartedly agree that nurses are remarkable, hardworking, and important. I’ve worked the floors, worked night shifts, early shifts, double shifts…but until we can view ourselves as the professionals we are, then we will continue to be regarded as slightly less than. I haven’t witnessed the need for a celebration week in the world of high level executives or administrators of hospitals or other business settings. Let’s stop this old-fashioned whining. Join 2017 and accept your free lunch with grace and dignity.

  7. I feel the same. Nurses are not celebrated separately. We are a part of the Hospital yes, but where is the celebration of the dedicated nurses who worked hard to obtain their credentials? Nurses and Nursing Assistants are THE most important member s of the team. How does the patient get the life saving medication? How is that medication working for the patient? Are they having side effects? Will they have the knowledge to take the appropriate medications when they go home? These are just a few examples of why Nurses are important enough to be celebrated separately. I used to hear from non-nursing coworkers ” Happy Nurses Week” and thank you for what you do. Now everybody in the Hospital gets in line for a free lunch one day, free cake another day and in line at the Gift Store for the sale going on.


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