Nurses Week 2021: What Is ‘Normal,’ Anyway?

As communities around the country and world begin to tentatively reopen, there’s a lot to celebrate. Certainly, Nurses Week 2021 is a lot less chaotic than its 2020 predecessor! Even so, there’s still a lot of uncertainty as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread and claim victims even as the vaccines are providing peace of mind to millions.

In other words, healthcare is a challenge: Nothing new there, as any nurse will tell us. And ‘normal’ is a word with a lot of meanings. That’s why Nurses Week, which runs from May 6-12, is such a great opportunity to thank nurses for all that they do, every day, regardless of what challenges come their way.

Nurses Week has a rich and lively history. It ends on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12, so it falls on the same calendar days every year rather than starting on a Sunday or Monday. There’s no shortage of biographical material about the “Lady With The Lamp,” who launched a nursing school in 1860 and thus began the professional arc of nursing as a career.

A holiday that evolves just like those it honors

Just like nursing itself, the event has grown over time. Now there’s also National Student Nurses Week, which contains National Student Nurses Day, May 8, and International Nurses Day on May 12. The goal of all this is to honor nurses, and also to raise awareness about nursing as a career choice and educate the public about the many (and growing number of) career paths within nursing.

Recently ANA Enterprise, the family of organizations composed of the American Nurses Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Nurses Foundation, announced that they have joined the World Health Organization and other groups around the world to extend the Year of the Nurse into 2021 in recognition of nurses’ contributions throughout 2020. ANA has also expanded National Nurse Week to Nurses Month this May.

The International Council of Nurses has announced that this year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead, with a sub-theme of A Vision For Future Healthcare.

“The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in our health systems and the enormous pressures our nurses are working under, as well as shining a light on their incredible commitment and courage,” said ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton in a statement. “What the pandemic has also done is given us the opportunity to call for a reset and the opportunity to explore new models of care where nurses are at the center of our health systems.”

It’s no surprise that nurses’ hard work and dedication throughout 2020, and all the years before, is being honored in new and significant ways. We are proud to partner with the nurses in our community and are eager to see how the profession continues to grow and provide opportunities in the years to come. Happy Nurses Week 2021!