National Nurses Week
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About National Nurses Week

Join us in celebrating National Nurses Week, May 6–12, and celebrate nurses like you who lead the charge for health and wellness. This year’s theme is You Make a Difference, to honor your varying nursing roles as well as the positive impact you have on everyone's lives. 

On National Nurses Day, celebrations and receptions are held across the United States to honor nurses. Among the most popular activities are banquets, state and city proclamations, and seminars. Many nurses also receive gifts or flowers from friends, family members, or patients.

May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as "The Lady with the Lamp".

National Nurses Week was first observed in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale's mission to Crimea. In 1982, May 6 was introduced as the first date for the observance week.



The Florence Nightingale Pledge

This modified “Hippocratic Oath” was composed in 1893 by Mrs. Lystra E. Gretter and a Committee for the Farrand Training School for Nurses in Detroit, MI.It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for the founder of modern nursing.

"I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care." 

About the Nightingale Moment

On May 12 at noon, every nurse around the world is invited to pause, take a moment of silence or create a healing ceremony or ritual in celebration and dedication of the heart and spirit of nursing. We will create a wave of healing consciousness as nurses world-wide observe this moment. Our collective goal is to reach every nurse in the world with this message. Please take the time to distribute this message by letter, phone, fax, e-mail, meetings, networks, and one-on-one sharing. During this 24-hour period, nurses around the world will:

  •  Honor Florence Nightingale and her legacy to modern nursing
  •  Honor the strength and wisdom of our nursing mission
  •  Reconnect with the fire and the soul, the sense of calling in nursing
  •  Acknowledge the interconnections and oneness of nurses in the personal, political, social, and scientific domains
  •  Relight the lamp and carry the vision of caring and healing into the new millennium

Suggestions on how to celebrate National Nurses Week, May 6-12 and the annual world-wide Commemorative Moment for Florence Nightingale, May 12

  • Recognize a special nurse in your life with a contribution to AHNA.
  • Spread the word about the commemorative moment to your coworkers and friends. Pass out fliers, lots of them (fliers can be obtained though the AHNA).
  • Contact other organizations and associations and groups you belong to seek their support for the Commemorative Moment for Florence Nightingale.
  • Target businesses that may be interested in marketing to or attracting nurses and ask their support.
  • Create a banner and posters to display in your workplace (if permitted).
  • Sponsor a special celebration or reception at a network meeting.
  • Work with local hospitals, home health care agencies, and other health-related facilities to set up a special display about the Florence Nightingale Moment and AHNA.
  • Host a hearing before a city council or hold a town meeting on the recent trends in health care (with special emphasis upon CAM and the AHNA's support of CAM).
  • Request that your city council officially designate May 12 as Florence Nightingale Day.
  • Connect with other groups to hold special programs, retreats (day/weekend) highlighting the Florence Nightingale Moment and her contribution to the profession of nursing.

Share your plans with AHNA members and others on the web, 
contact for a free 30-word event listing.

Read the Nightingale Moment Press Release

Join Us in Celebrating the Nightingale Moment!



Nightingale Moment Events

The Florence Nightingale Commemorative Moment started in 2000 as a celebration of nursing’s most known contributor and ended up launching a worldwide movement. The Nightingale Moment occurs May 12 at noon. At that moment, every nurse around the world is invited to pause, take a moment of silence or create a healing ceremony or ritual in celebration and dedication of holistic nursing. We will create a wave of healing consciousness as nurses world-wide observe this moment.

Publicize your Nightingale Moment or Nurses Week event here. Just send us a short  statement (30 words or less) about your activity to

Events in your area:

Other nurses have taken this opportunity to promote holistic nursing by organizing local events for their communities. Many have also worked to combine the Nightingale Moment and/or the Blessing of the Hands with other Nurses Week activities at their local hospitals. Here are just some of the events that will be taking place this year in celebration of Florence Nightingale and holistic nursing:

Special Thanks to Chapters who Celebrated National Nurses Week

The American Holistic Nurses Association would like to thank: Holistic Nurses of Nevada, The Charlotte North Carolina Network, Minnesota Holistic Nurses Association, The Northern Westchester Chapter of New York, Slidell, LA Chapter of Louisiana, Coachella Valley California AHNA Chapter, The Central Colorado Chapter, the San Diego Chapter, Delaware Chapter, Jacksonville Florida Chapter and Humboldt Holistic Nurse's Network of California for their involvement with National Nurses week. Each organization had their own method of celebrating from using guided imagery and presentations to remember those past to holding a miniature conference to celebrate the week. AHNA applauds your efforts to honor nurses.

More Information about Chapter Activities:

The Charlotte North Carolina Network worked with a Tri-County Nurses Association and put on a Banquet with speakers. About 400 nurses were in attendance. Charlotte Chapter of Holistic Nurses had booth and passed out AHNA literature during the event.

The Northern Westchester Chapter of AHNA celebrated National Nurses Week by taking care of the amazing nurses at Northern Westchester Hospital. Every year they offer 4 days of integrative services to these dedicated individuals.  The hospital provided them full access to their Meditation Room where the chapter sets up tables and offered: the ‘m’ Technique, aromatherapy and foot/ hand reflexology sessions.  For those RNs who could not get off their Units and for the night staff, their AHNA team took a “Caring Cart” to each Unit and provided hand or back massage, aromatherapy, reflexology of the hands and chocolate kisses. 

Coachella Valley Chapter of California held luncheons, awards, ice cream socials, spa massages for nurses on their units and a hair/beauty stylist at the John F. Kennedy Memorial hospital in Indio, California. On Wednesday May 11th, their Education department hosted the first , “Zen Den”  They transformed one of the conference rooms into a healing room.  Starting at 7:30 am, every hour until 13:30 they hosted sessions to include: Introduction to Holistic Nursing, Self-care Strategies and Guided meditation. Each nurse received a lavender aromatherapy kit, then in the afternoon they hosted three, 45minute sounds bath concerts to promote clearing and relaxing energy.

The Central Colorado Chapter had a meeting celebrating Nurses's week. They had a small attendance but among the 5 RNs who attended there was 150 years of Nursing experience between them. They created personal gratitude circles and shared a bit about their nursing journeys. Collectively the group made a Nursing wheel, which is featured on their Facebook page

The San Diego, California Chapter held their quarterly meeting on May 4th where they honored all of the 25 nurses present using Guided Imagery honoring each of them to the heartbeat of the drum with flute and rainstick. Barb DeFulvio purchased yellow roses which were presented to each nurse/practitioner present. They also brought in a speaker who spoke about "Sleep, 'how to' naturally with self-hypnosis and aromatherapy."

The Humboldt Holistic Nurse's Network of California held a meeting to encourage the embrace of Holistic Nursing while honoring the nurses present.

The Minnesota Holistic Nurses Association held a gathering in connection with the Minnesota Holistic Medical Group and Master of Arts in Holistic Health, St. Catherine University, Saturday, May 7, 2016 Attendees could  receive a Certificate of Attendance available for 3 contact hours. 

The Northeast Indiana Chapter held Open House events in 10 hospitals in their area. They will pass out AHNA recruitment literature, Beginnings magazines and  have educational posters about holistic pain, anxiety and depression management, as well as, how to develop a self care plan. They will also give away meditation CDs, aromatherapy inhalers, AHNA logo pens and Wildflower seed bookmarks to all nurses that attend the events. Members of the chapter will be doing hand massages, Healing Touch and coaching for free. They  hope these events reach about 600 nurses during Nurses Week.

Jacksonville Florida Chapter offered healing touch sessions for all Nursing staff during Nurse’s Week in three of its hospitals.

Delaware Chapter  provided continuing education sessions~ an Introduction to Holistic Nursing: Part I and II to nurses in 3 different counties of the state.